WALTHAM, Mass. – Following the program's first unbeaten November in five years, the Bentley University men's basketball team will look to carry the momentum into the new month when it launches December with a home game against St. Michael's College Saturday. The 3:30 pm contest, like all Falcon home games, can be viewed on NE10NOW.tv or www.bentleyfalcons.tv.
St. Michael's will come into the Dana Center with records of 3-3 overall and 1-3 Northeast-10 after earning its second overtime win of the year, 82-81 over Assumption.
Coach Jay Lawson's Bentley Falcons, 6-0 overall and number 24 in this week's NABC Division II rankings, closed out November with a 93-79 road win at Franklin Pierce, a game in which they continued an impressive display of shooting. Bentley finished at .556, buried 13 of 20 three-pointers and also enjoyed success at the free throw line, making 20 of 24. It was the fourth time in six games the team has connected at a 55 percent clip or better.
All five starters scored in doubles, with senior guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate HS) at the top of the list with 20, and both sophomore guard Colton Lawrence (Myerstown, Pa./ECHO HS) and junior forward Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine/Northampton Williston School) recorded double-doubles.
Three of the NE10's top five scorers will be on display Saturday. Richmond has taken over the conference lead at 23.0 a game and St. Michael's is led by the tandem of senior guards Levi Holmes III and Derek Cheatom. Holmes III is second to Richmond at 22.7 and Cheatom is fifth (21.2).
Richmond, 11th on Bentley's all-time scoring list with 1,552 points, completed November with shooting numbers of .565 overall, .560 from downtown and .939 from the charity stripe. He's scored at least 20 in every game this year and nine straight going back to last year, and also provides 5.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists a game.
Lawrence, after scoring only four a game last season, is off to a strong start and is one of only four NE10 players averaging at least 15 points and eight rebounds.
The remainder of Bentley's starting five are also scoring in doubles with senior forward Zach Gilpin (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) at 13.2, Hudson at 11.7 and sophomore guard Jordan Mello-Klein (Sharon/Thayer Academy) at 10.5.
In the latest NCAA Division II stats, the Falcons are second nationally in three-point accuracy (.506) and free throw percentage (.853), fifth in rebound margin (+10.3) and seventh in field goal percentage (.533). The 88.7 scoring average tops the Northeast-10.
St. Michael's is the only team in the conference with two players scoring at least 20 a game. Holmes, whose game-winning jumper with 4.3 seconds lifted the Purple Knights past Assumption Wednesday, led the NE10 in scoring a year ago at 24-1 while Cheatom has stepped it up from 12.7. Holmes had a 37-point outing earlier this season against Molloy, Cheatom had 30 against Franklin Pierce and both are factors on the boards as well, each averaging 6.3 rebounds.
Purple Knight coach Josh Meyer tweaked his lineup against Assumption, inserting 6-6 sophomore Walker Storey and 6-7 junior Eli DiGrande. DiGrande had 17 in his first start and is averaging 13.8 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds.
St. Michael's scores 84.3 points a game but surrenders a conference-high 88.7 per contest.
Bentley swept the Purple Knights last year, 80-61 and 82-74, and has won six of the last seven in the series.
Next week, the Falcons will make two trips to Manchester, N.H. for encounters with Southern New Hampshire (Wednesday) and Saint Anselm (Saturday).