MANCHESTER, N.H. – Graduate student Keegan Hyland (South Portland, Maine/South Portland HS) and senior forward Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills HS), two of the top four scorers in the conference, combined for 56 points, including nine during a game-ending 11-2 run, as Bentley University pulled out an 85-78 win over Southern New Hampshire University in Northeast-10 men's basketball Wednesday night at the SNHU Fieldhouse.
Hyland finished with 29, including the go-ahead three with 1:20 left, and McFarland followed with 27, including four free throws in the final 15.4 seconds to lock up the win.
Bentley improved to 17-5 overall and 14-3 NE-10 while maintaining a one-game lead over Saint Anselm with the regular season schedule down to four games. Southern New Hampshire, which had been 8-0 in home conference games, dropped to 15-9 and 11-6.
The Falcons found themselves on the short end of a 68-60 score just past the midpoint of the second half after the Penmen embarked on a 19-4 explosion. That run, which took less than four minutes, wiped out a 56-49 Bentley lead.
Bentley responded with a Hyland-fueled 10-2 run to even the contest at 70-all. The 2015 CoSIDA Academic All-America® stuck a three from the left wing, senior guard Alex Furness (Wells, Maine/ Wells HS) followed with a basket and Hyland scored on a second-chance basket to bring the Falcons within one. After a fast-break lay-up by SNHU forward B.J. Cardarelli (Manchester, Conn.), Hyland drained a three from the top of the key to make it 70 all.
The Penmen took their final lead of the night with 3:18 left on a put back by sophomore forward Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.), 76-74. Bentley answered with a second-chance basket by sophomore forward Brandon Wheeler (Stamford, Conn./Trinity Catholic HS) with 1:52 left, tying it for the seventh time.
Hyland broke the deadlock by nailing a three from the left side with 1:20 left for the lead and corralled the rebound at the other end following a missed Penmen attempt from deep. McFarland ate up most of the shot clock before driving to the basket for two with 31.9 seconds remaining.
After a lay-up from senior wing Rodney Sanders (Elizabeth, N.J.), McFarland restored the lead to five with two free throws with 15.4 showing on the clock. Sanders, the nation's top three-point threat, missed on a three with the ball going out of bounds to the visitors. McFarland followed with two more from the line to close out the game's scoring.
Both teams had seven-point leads during the first nine minutes of the game and the contest was tied at 40 with three minutes left until intermission. Consecutive threes by Furness and McFarland put Bentley back up six and the Falcons were up four at the break, 46-42.
Bentley's lead peaked at eight early in the second half, 52-44, after McFarland drilled two threes in the first 2:05.
Hyland, in addition to 29 points, filled the stat sheet with 10 rebounds, four steals and three assists. He knocked down five triples in 13 attempts and was 11 of 25 overall.
McFarland was more efficient, hitting 8 of 15 overall, four of seven threes and all seven of his free throws. He came up one rebound shy of a double-double and also blocked three shots.
Furness followed with 12 points and two steals, and Wheeler helped with seven points and seven rebounds.
Sanders had a big game for Southern New Hampshire, finishing with 30 points on 12-for-20 shooting, including 4-for-8 from downtown. Walters followed with 18 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.
Bentley shot 50 percent overall, including 12 of 26 from three, and held Southern New Hampshire to 35 percent from the floor in the second half after the Penmen hit 53 percent in the first stanza.
Southern New Hampshire, just 6 of 19 overall from three, had the edge in rebounds (36-35) and turnovers (15-9), but Bentley got it done from the foul line. The Falcons sank 19 of 21 while the Penmen attempted only 11, making eight.
Bentley will also be on the road Saturday with a 3:30 pm game at Franklin Pierce.