WALTHAM, Mass. – Junior forward Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills HS) scored 26 points, including a key basket with 21:7 seconds left, as Bentley University held on for an 81-80 win over Assumption College in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Wednesday night at the Dana Center.
It was the fourth straight victory for the Falcons, as well as the team's 11th in its last 13 games and 13th in its last 16. Bentley, which maintained the advantage for the final 36:34, improved to 14-7 overall and 9-6 in the NE-10, good for fifth place in the conference's Northeast Division. Assumption fell to 8-12 overall and 5-10 in the conference.
Bentley spent the night extending the lead to double figures but the Greyhounds kept battling back, finally making it a one-possession game, 79-76, when junior forward Karl Ziegler (Annandale, Va.) hit a runner in the paint with 54.8 seconds left.
The Falcons used the majority of the shot clock before being tied up for a jump ball with 24.9 seconds overall and six to shoot. Bentley retained possession, McFarland caught the ball off the inbound pass and rolled to the basket for two, making it an 81-76 lead with 21.7 to play.
Assumption sophomore guard Marcus Murray (Washington, D.C.), fouled with 16.2 seconds left, made both from the line to again make it a three-point game. McFarland was tied up in the backcourt and this time possession went to the visitors with 10.2 to play. Murray missed a potential tying three with the ball going out of bounds to the Hounds. Off the inbound, Ziegler missed a three and teammate Terrance Bobb-Jones (Wilmington, Del.) put it back to account for the final margin.
After Assumption took its only lead of the night at 7-6, Bentley ran off 12 unanswered, the first nine being scored by McFarland. He made two free throws, drained a triple from the left wing and hit a couple lay-ups before Falcon senior forward Andrew Shaw (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) made it 18-7 with a three-ball.
Bentley, after seeing its lead reduced to three, put together a 15-3 run during a span of 4:22 surrounding halftime. That run, which included six points from junior guard Alex Furness (Wells, Maine/Wells HS), produced the Falcons' biggest lead, 45-30 75 seconds into the second half.
The Falcons were still up 13, 70-57 with 6:08 to play, and nine, 72-63 with 4:45 on the clock, before the Hounds staged the late comeback.
McFarland, whose night included two triples and 8-for-8 at the line, also had seven rebounds, three assists and a block. Three others from the state of Maine followed him in the scoring list with Hyland netting 17, Furness 14 and Shaw nine off the bench, along with a couple blocks.
Ziegler led four Assumption players in double figures with 18 points, and Bobb-Jones finished with a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double.
Assumption shot better, 49-47 percent, and won the rebounding battle, 34-29, but Bentley had one less turnover in a relatively mistake-free game (only 15 combined turns) and a 22-13 advantage in free throws.
Bentley is back in action Saturday afternoon with a 3:30 game at Saint Anselm.