WEST HAVEN, Conn. – Bentley University junior guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate) scored a game-high 27 points, including a sparkling 14-of-14 from the free throw line, but the Falcons came up short Saturday afternoon, dropping an 87-84 decision to the University of New Haven in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball at Charger Gymnasium.
Bentley, which has alternated wins and losses in six games since returning from the holiday and exam break, dropped to 9-7 overall and 6-5 NE10. New Haven finished the day with the same records the Falcons had at the start, 9-6 overall and 6-4 conference.
The game saw a total of 33 points scored in the final 80 seconds as the Falcons repeatedly fouled to get back in the game. It began with a 10-2 spurt, including seven by Richmond (three-point play and four free throws). That stretch, which also included a three from sophomore guard Seth Stankiewicz (Reading, Pa./Hill School), saw New Haven miss two front ends of one-and-ones and made it a two-point game, 76-74, with 41.1 seconds left.
From that point on, New Haven knocked down 11 of 12 free throws, including 6-of-6 from sophomore forward Roy Kane, Jr. (Norwalk, Conn.) to hold off the Falcons. Bentley kept the pressure on by making it a one-possession game four times in the final 30 seconds.
Charger senior guard Danny Upchurch (Bridgeport, Conn.) missed the second of two freebies with 1.6 seconds left with Bentley junior Zach Gilpin (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) claiming the rebound. However, a desperation heave from 88 feet fell well short.
A one-point game midway through the second half, New Haven used a pair of 7-0 runs to extend the differential to a game-high ten, 74-64, to play. Upchurch had five of seven in the first burst and a three-ball in the middle of the second one.
There were 10 lead changes and a half-dozen ties before a basket by Kane, Jr. reversed Bentley's final lead of the game, 50-49 with 13 minutes to play. That one-point Falcon advantage was built on a 9-2 Falcon run that included a top-of-the-key three, a 16-foot jumper and an elbow jumper by Richmond.
Bentley closed the first half with a 9-3 surge to take a 39-38 lead into the break and went up three on a floater by senior forward Brandon Wheeler (Stamford, Conn./Trinity Catholic HS) for the first basket of the second. However, the Chargers stormed back a 9-0 run to go up six, 47-41 with 15 minutes to play.
Richmond, who had at least 25 points for the fourth straight game, scored 22 of his 27 after intermission. He struggled from the field (6-19) but was outstanding from the stripe.
Stankiewicz came off the bench to drill five of nine three-pointers during a 15-point performance and Wheeler came within a rebound of a double-double, finishing with 13 points. The Falcons also received 11 points from sophomore forward Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine/Northampton Williston School) and nine points and eight rebounds from Gilpin.
Upchurch and sophomore guard Elijah Bailey (Freeport, N.Y.) combined for 49 points for New Haven, finishing with 25 and 24 respectively.
New Haven had the edge statistically in most categories, including field goal percentage (.483-.450), rebounds (36-32) and free throws (10-9). The Falcons were more efficient at the line (.870-786) and had a 10-9 edge in three-pointers made.
Bentley will be back home Wednesday for a 7:30 pm game against Adelphi University.