WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior All-Conference forward Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills HS) scored 16 of his game-high 26 points during the first six-and-a-half minutes of the second half, powering Bentley University to a 76-68 win over previously unbeaten Saint Anselm College in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Wednesday night at the Dana Center.
Bentley, which took the lead for good on a three-pointer by freshman guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thompson Collegiate) just before the halftime break, improved to 5-2 overall, including a Northeast Division-leading 3-0 in the conference. Saint Anselm , 6-1 overall and 3-1 conference, was held 10.5 points below its season norm.
McFarland, who had a quiet eight points in a first half that ended with the Falcons up 38-37, took over the game when play resumed. The Falcons outscored the Hawks 23-8 over the first 6:30 and the Falcon forward had a hand in 19 with an assist to go along with the 16 he scored.
Ninth on Bentley's all-time scoring list, McFarland opened the second half scoring with a short jumper. He drained a three on his team's next possession, a triple that boosted his career point total to an even 1,600.
McFarland buried another three, this one from the left side, with 17:37 to play, making it 46-41. Following a Saint Anselm lay-up, the Falcons embarked on a 12-0 run that quickly extended the lead to 15, 58-43.
Senior guard Alex Furness (Wells, Maine/Wells HS), who followed McFarland on the scoring list with 21 points, got it going with a three from the right wing. Sophomore guard Brandon Wheeler (Stamford, Conn./Trinity Catholic HS) came up with one of the Falcons' season-best 12 steals and took it to the basket for two. McFarland followed with a lay-up and a triple from the right wing before junior guard Ferguson Duke (Dartmouth, N.S./Hun School (N.J.)) capped the run with a lay-up.
After Saint Anselm ended a three-and-a-half minute scoreless drought with a fast break lay-up, McFarland drilled his fourth three-pointer of the half to produce Bentley's biggest lead of the night, 61-45 with 13:37 left.
A pair of threes by Saint Anselm senior forward Harrison Taggart (Wallingford, Vt.) brought the Hawks to within 10, 78-68 with 2:23 to play. Seconds later, Hawk coach Keith Dickson was whistled for a technical and McFarland knocked down both free throws to return the lead to 12, 80-68.
Three of Bentley's 13 turnovers came in the final 70 seconds but the Falcons held off the Hawks by making six of eight free throws during that span. Saint Anselm got as close as seven, 83-76, with 24 seconds left. Bentley junior guard Chris Murray (Littleton/Littleton HS) made one of two at the line with 20.7 seconds left, Duke took a charge at the other end and then closed out the visitors with two at the line.
Saint Anselm jumped out to a 13-6 lead and was on top 19-14 with 12:30 left in the opening half before the Falcons put together 11 straight points. Freshman forward Kyle Bouchard (Houlton, Maine/ Houlton HS) got it started with his second put-back of the game and Furness scored the final five, including a three from the left wing to give Bentley a 25-19 advantage.
The lead changed three more times before Richmond's go-ahead triple from the right wing.
McFarland, who also had four rebounds and two blocks, finished 10 of 18 overall and four of seven from three. Furness connected twice from deep, knocked down nine of ten free throws and also had eight rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Duke was Bentley's other double figure scorer, finishing with 11 points and two steals. Graduate student Keegan Hyland (South Portland, Maine/South Portland HS) added nine points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals, and Bouchard came off the bench for eight points and seven boards.
Senior forward Mike McCahey (Clarkstown, N.Y) powered Saint Anselm with 23 points, including 18 of his team's 37 in the first half. After the break, he scored only five on two of eight shooting. The Hawks also received 17 from freshman guard Tim Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) and 16 from Taggart.
Bentley outshot the visitors 49-45 percent overall, including 56-44 percent in the second half, and had advantages of 10-9 in three-pointers and 14-7 at the line. The Falcons forced 19 turns and turned them into a +13 points off differential.
Bentley will be back in action Saturday when it hosts Southern New Hampshire at 3:30 pm.