WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior forward Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills HS) scored a career-high 36 points, graduate student Keegan Hyland (South Portland, Maine/South Portland HS) followed with 21 and both players achieved double-doubles as Bentley University held on for an 83-81 win over Assumption College in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Dana Center.
The win, coupled with Merrimack's upset of Saint Anselm College, gave Bentley (16-5, 13-3 NE-10) sole possession of first place in the conference's Northeast Division with five regular season games remaining. The Falcons are one up on both Stonehill and Saint Anselm.
With the game tied at 71, Hyland buried a three from the left wing to begin a 9-3 surge and put the Falcons in front to stay. The run also included one of two at the line by Hyland, two free throws by junior guard Matt Barr (Stratham, N.H./Cushing Academy) and another Hyland triple. That one was from the left corner and made it an 80-74 game with 1:32 left.
Following an Assumption lay-up, Hyland knocked down one of two from the charity stripe with 56 seconds to play, making it 81-76. Greyhound freshman guard Justin Tuckson (Stafford, Va.) answered with his fourth three-pointer, bringing the visitors to within two with 36.7 seconds remaining.
The advantage was restored to four when senior guard Alex Furness (Wells, Maine/Wells HS) sank two free throws with 28.1 seconds. Assumption wasn't done as sophomore guard Mat Sulda (Hatfield) scored on a driving lay-up with 16.8 seconds left. Senior forward Tre Owens (Rota, Spain) came up with a steal for the Hounds but they missed both a three and a put-back, the latter blocked by Barr, before time expired.
The first seven-and-a-half minutes of the game belonged to Bentley as the Falcons made 9 of their first 12 shots, including five from downtown, to open a 23-12 lead. However, that advantage had disappeared by intermission as Assumption closed with a 12-4 run to take a 43-41 lead into the break.
Led by six points from Hyland, Bentley started the second half with an 11-2 run to go back up seven, 52-45. After an exchange of three-balls, Assumption put together a 14-3 surge to gain a 62-58 lead with 11 minutes to play.
That was followed by a McFarland-fueled Bentley run, this one a 11-2 that returned the lead to the Falcons, 69-64, with 6:24 left. All 11 were tallied by the number three scorer in Falcon history. The Greyhounds countered by scoring seven of the next nine, evening the count for the seventh time, 71-all.
McFarland made 14 of his 21 shots, including half of his six attempts from behind the arc, and all five of his free throws. The 14 field goals moved him past former All-Americas Brian Hammel '75 and Al Grenfell '75 into second on the program's all-time list (722) and he also eclipsed 1,900 career points, his total climbing to 1,929. McFarland also had ten rebounds and two assists in 39 error-free minutes.
Hyland shot .500 overall (8-16) and from three (3-6) while also providing 11 rebounds and four assists. Furness pitched in with 17 points, most coming from distance as he made five of seven from outside the arc.
Owens and Tuckson led five double-figure scorers for Assumption, each finishing with 19 points.
Bentley outshot the visitors overall, 50-46 percent, but Assumption had the upper hand from three, sinking 14 of 28 as compared to the Falcons 11 of 24. Rebounds (37-28) and free throws (12-7) favored the home team but Bentley committed eight of the game's 12 turnovers.
Bentley will play three of its next four on the road, beginning Wednesday at Southern New Hampshire in a game that will be broadcast by both NESN+ and NESN National.