GARDEN CITY, N.Y. – Bentley University guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate) closed out his sophomore season with a school record 45 points, but saw his team fall to a red-hot shooting Adelphi University Panther squad, 101-91, in the first round of the Northeast-10 Conference Men's Basketball Championships Friday night at the Center for Recreation and Sports.
Adelphi, led by a career-high 44 point effort from junior guard Michael Coffey (Monroe, N.Y.), shot exactly 70 percent overall, the Panthers' astounding 35 of 50 including 12 of 21 from downtown and 23 of 29 inside the arc.
Adelphi, the fourth seed out of the Southwest Division, improved to 18-11 and advanced to Sunday's quarterfinal game at Southern New Hampshire. Bentley, the fifth seed from the Northeast Division, finished at 14-13, the program's 21st winning record in the last 22 seasons.
The first half, which ended with Adelphi on top 53-43 following a closing 15-6 run, featured an amazing shooting duel by Richmond and Coffey. Coffey scored 30 for the Panthers as he made 11 of 14 overall, including a ridiculous 8 of 9 from downtown. Richmond posted his second straight 25-point half, doing so without a three while hitting 12 of 17 overall.
During that opening 20 minutes, Coffey tallied 30 of his team's 53 and Richmond had 25 of the Falcons' 43. The remainder of the Falcons were just 8 of 23 combined while the other Panthers converted 8 of 13.
The Panther run to end the first half was extended to 21-6 once play resumed as Adelphi scored the first six points, including a three-ball from sophomore wing Jack Laffey (Red Bank, N.J.). That made it 59-43 and despite Richmond's heroics, Bentley was never able to recover.
With the Adelphi lead standing at 13 with 15:37 to play, the home team pushed it to 20, 77-57, with a 10-4 run. That spurt included four by both Coffey and six-foot-10 junior Manny Suarez (Cliffside Park, N.J.).
Richmond, a second-team All-Conference selection whose game-winning three-pointer with 1.8 seconds on Tuesday at Merrimack enabled Bentley to qualify for the conference tournament, broke the school record set by Ray Andersen in 1969 and matched by Bill Holden 20 years later.
Richmond finished 20 of 32 overall, one of two from outside the arc and four of four at the foul stripe. His 20 field goals broke Jim Fuerst's school record of 17 and was the most by a Division II player nationwide this season. His 32 attempts equaled the Bentley mark the Mike Driscoll set 50 years ago.
Richmond, who totaled 79 points in his final two games, finished the season with a 22.6 average, best ever by a Bentley guard and tied for second best in program history. It also was tied for the second highest in the NE10 this season.
Bentley also received 16 points from senior guard Ferguson Duke (Dartmouth, N.S./Hun School (N.J.)), who knocked down all four of his three-pointers and was six of seven overall before fouling out. Junior guard Brandon Wheeler (Stamford, Conn./Trinity Catholic HS) followed with 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Coffey's career night saw him drain nine of 11 three-pointers and shoot 17 of 22 overall. Sophomore guard Conor McGuiness (New City, N.Y.) also had a big night for the Panthers with 25 points, including 11 of 12 free throws, and seven assists. Suarez was also a factor with 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting, 13 rebounds and three blocks.
In addition to shooting 70 percent in each half, Adelphi had a substantial advantage at the line, making 19 of 25 as compared to the Falcons' four of five. Bentley finished at .500 overall from the floor and committed only ten turns, eight fewer than Adelphi's total.
Bentley will lose four members of this year's team to graduation: Duke, Matt Barr (Stratham, N.H./Cushing Academy), Chris Murray (Littleton, Mass./Littleton HS) and Tyler Gibson (Rockland, Mass./Rockland HS).