WALTHAM, Mass. – The Bentley University Falcons put up a valiant second-half fight, cutting a 25-point deficit to five, but came up short in the end as Southern Connecticut State prevailed 75-67 in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Dana Center.
The contest featured two of the top five scorers in the conference and both lived up to the billing. Junior guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate) scored 28 for Bentley, his sixth straight game with at least 25, and Isaiah McLeod (Cambridge), also a junior guard, did him four better for the Owls, finishing with 32.
Bentley, despite a 42-31 rebound advantage, dropped to 10-8 overall and 7-6 NE10 while continuing a pattern of alternating wins and losses over its last nine games. Southern Connecticut improved to 8-9 overall and 5-7 conference as the Owls bested the Falcons for the sixth straight time.
Down 17 at the half, things got worse for the Falcons with Southern opening the second half with eight straight points, a run that began with a McLeod triple from the right wing. Following a three-point play by senior forward Jerry Luckett, Jr. (Milwaukee, Wisc.), the score stood at 53-28 with 17:23 to play.
Bentley has staged a number of second-half comebacks in recent games and this was no exception. Over the next 16 minutes, the Falcons outscored the Owls 37-17 to make it a five-point game, 70-65 with 1:19 left. Richmond, with 14, and sophomore forward Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine/ Northamption Williston School), with 11 points and seven rebounds, helped spark that spurt.
Meanwhile, Southern was just 7-for-24 with four turns during that 16-minute stretch.
After two free throws by Richmond brought Bentley within five, Southern made repeated trips to the line and they helped the Falcons out, missing five of ten. However, the home team couldn't take advantage, missing four of five shots in the final minute.
Richmond, during his 28-point performance, made 10 of 17 shots overall, four of six three-pointers and four of five free throws. In addition, he gave the Falcons five rebounds and four assists.
Hudson was the only other Falcon in doubles, finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Junior forward Zach Gilpin (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) followed with eight points and seven boards, and senior forward Brandon Wheeler (Stamford, Conn./Trinity Catholic HS) added seven points, five assists and four rebounds.
McLeod made half of his 24 shots, with a pair of treys, and was six of nine at the foul line. He also came up with four steals, a category in which Southern dominated the Falcons, 11-1.
Turnovers were costly to Bentley with the Falcons losing the ball 22 times, twice as many as the Owls, and Southern finishing with a 26-14 advantage in points off turns. Southern had a slight shooting advantage, 46-44 percent, as well as 10 more field goal attempts, 65-55.
The next game for Bentley is a week away, next Saturday at Pace University. The time of that game has been changed to 1:30 pm.