WALTHAM, Mass. – Sophomore guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thompson Collegiate) had a career-best 26 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and classmate Kyle Bouchard (Houlton, Maine/Houlton HS) followed with 18, also a career-high, as the Bentley University men's basketball team won its sixth straight season-opener, 95-82 over Bloomfield College, during the Bentley Tip-Off Classic Friday night at the Dana Center.
Bentley closed with a 25-11 burst over the final 7:43 after the Bears had erased a 13-point deficit to take a one-point lead during the previous six minutes.
That run was launched by freshman guard Seth Stankiewicz (Reading, Pa./The Hill School), who scored the first five points by hitting his first two shots as a collegian. His first, a three from the left side, put the Falcons up 73-71 with 7:37 to play and the second, a 15-foot jumper, put Bentley in front for good, 78-73.
With the score at 79-77, Richmond and junior forward Brandon Wheeler (Stamford, Conn./ Trinity Catholic HS) resumed the run, combining for 14 of the Falcons' next 16 points as the lead grew to 16, 95-79, midway through the final minute. Richmond had nine of the 14, including a three-point play with 2:45 left to push the differential to eight, 84-79.
After trailing by as many as six in the first half, Bentley went into the break up one, 40-39, after a 7-2 spurt during the final 2:13 of the first. Again, Bouchard and Richmond were involved, each scoring three points.
The Falcons started the second half fast, draining their first five three-pointers to go up 62-49 with 13:37 left. Four different players connected from long distance during that span with Richmond dropping in a pair.
Bloomfield got back in the game, using a 22-8 run to briefly regain the lead. Junior forward Nick Davidson (Lumberton, N.J.) spurred the comeback as he single-handedly outscored the Falcons with two triples and an old-fashioned three-point play.
Richmond shot 7-of-15 overall with a pair of threes and also got to the foul line a dozen times, knocking down ten. All of his rebounds came at the defensive end and he turned the ball over just once.
Bouchard nailed all four of his attempts from three-point land and finished seven of nine overall. The Falcons also received a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double from Wheeler along with 13 points and four assists from senior guard Ferguson Duke (Dartmouth, N.S./Hun School (N.J.)).
Bloomfield, the preseason favorite in the North Division of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference, was led by Davidson's 21 points.
Both teams shot well (Falcons 54.2 percent, Bears 53.3) but the home team was more efficient from three (13 of 25 as compared to 7 of 16) and had an 18-11 advantage in free throws made. Rebounds also favored Bentley, 35-27 overall and 10-6 offensive.
In the other game, Merrimack opened with an 80-61 win over Post as the Warriors ran their winning streak in the Tip-Off Classic to 16 games.
The tournament continues Saturday with Merrimack facing Bloomfield at 6 pm and Bentley taking on Post in the 8 pm nightcap.