WALTHAM, Mass. – Southern Connecticut State senior guard Michael Mallory (Waterbury, Conn.) scored 22 of his school record 47 points in overtime and classmate Desmond Williams (Torrington, Conn.) added 36 points and 15 rebounds as the Owls outlasted Bentley University in double overtime, 113-111, in the only regular season match-up between the current divisional leaders in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Dana Center.
Mallory and Williams, with their combined 83 points, outdueled the Bentley triumvirate of Keegan Hyland (South Portland, Maine/South Portland HS), Tyler McFarland (Camden Hills, Maine/ Rockport HS) and Alex Furness (Wells, Maine/Wells HS), who totaled 79 points. It was the fourth time this season the trio of Maine products have all put up at least 20 in a game.
Southern, the leader in the Southwest Division, improved to 16-4 overall and 12-2 NE-10. Bentley (15-4, 12-2), which saw its winning streak halted at six, dropped into a tie for the lead in the Northeast Division with Saint Anselm. The loss ended a 10-game overtime winning streak for the Falcons, dating back to the 2006 NE-10 semifinals.
In the second extra session, back-to-back Mallory triples from the right wing, the first with 2:52 and the second with 2:08 to play, broke a 105-all tie. Three-balls by Hyland and Furness, sandwiched around a driving lay-up, brought the Falcons within two, 113-111, with 35.1 seconds to play.
After Williams missed two from the line with 28.5 seconds left, Bentley had two more opportunities to at least tie the game but a pair of Hyland shot attempts, including a three at the buzzer, were off the mark and Southern escaped with the hard-fought win.
In the first OT, Mallory missed a chance to make it a two-possession game by missing one of two free throws with 12.2 seconds to play. Bentley took advantage with Furness knocking down a triple from the right side with :06.5 to go, putting it at 100 apiece on the scoreboard. The Owls had one more opportunity but Mallory's three was well short.
Southern got off to a red-hot start powered by Williams, who hit his first nine shots and had 21 points before the game was nine minutes old. That made it a 28-16 Owl lead and Southern went on to take a 53-43 advantage into the halftime break.
Down nine early in the second, Bentley turned the contest around with a 14-2 run, grabbing a 62-59 lead with 14 minutes left on the regulation clock. Sophomore forward Brandon Wheeler (Stamford, Conn./Trinity Catholic HS) played a key role during that stretch, scoring six, including both a tip-in and a dunk.
Bentley went up by as many as seven before an 8-3 Owl spurt made it 82 apiece with 2:40 to play. McFarland knocked down a three to give his team the lead back and Hyland sank two from the line with 21.6 seconds left for an 87-84 lead.
Mallory responded with a three from the left corner for the tie with 12 seconds left. The Falcons drove down court before being whistled for a travel with 3.3 seconds left. That gave Mallory one more chance but his long three for the win was off the mark.
Mallory, who tied the Dana Center record of 47 set by Merrimack's Darin Alix in 1997, put the ball in the air an amazing 42 times. He finished 16 of 42 overall, 10 of 24 from three and five of seven from the line. His 10 triples were also the most in Dana Center history.
Williams cooled off significantly from his 9-for-9 start, finishing 14 of 28 with three triples. His line also included five assists, three steals and a block.
Hyland powered the Falcons with 30 points, 12 rebound and six assists. McFarland's 28 included 8-for-15 overall, three triples and a perfect 9-of-9 free throws. Furness scored 11 of his 21 in the two overtimes, and Wheeler provided 12 points and seven rebounds.
Bentley shot slightly better overall, 43-42 percent, but Southern attempted 20 more shots, a total of 103. Both clubs were 14 of 37 from three, and the Falcons had the free throw edge, 25 of 32 as compared to 13 of 22. The Owls finished with four more rebounds, 59-55, and only turned it over seven times in 50 minutes, half the Falcons' total.
Bentley will look to bounce back and avenge an earlier loss when it plays at Stonehill College Wednesday night.