8-1 Bentley Looks to Rebound Monday with Home Game against Saint Rose

Jordan Mello-Klein
Jordan Mello-Klein

WALTHAM, Mass. – Only about 50 hours after suffering its first loss of the season, the Bentley University men's basketball team will be back in action Monday evening, this time for a 7 pm home game against The College of Saint Rose. As usual, a webcast will be available at www.NE10NOW.tv.

Monday's game, even though it's between Northeast-10 opponents, will not affect the conference standings. The NE10 meeting between the two will be played out in Albany Jan. 12.

Bentley, 8-1 overall and the number 14 team in last week's NABC Division II coaches' poll, will be looking to get back on track after an 84-74 road loss to unbeaten Saint Anselm College. The Falcons had their second poorest shooting performance of the season, both overall (.435) and from three (.278), and attempted a season-low 12 free throws.

Coach Jay Lawson's team will be facing a Saint Rose team that is 4-5 overall and coming off a 23-point loss at Franklin Pierce, 94-71.  Monday's game will be the third of a six straight on the road for the Golden Knights, a stretch that began with a 72-68 victory at Adelphi University.

Bentley struggled from three in two games last week, with an 89-83 victory at Southern New Hampshire preceding the Saint Anselm game. After averaging 10.4 triples and shooting .489 from beyond the arc entering last week's games, the Falcons are just nine of 33 in the last two, an uncharacteristic accuracy rate of only .273.

Despite the recent struggles, Bentley still leads the Northeast-10 in three-point percentage (.451) and is second in the other shooting accuracy categories (.509 from the floor, .824 free throws).

Senior guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate), the number ten scorer in program history with 1,615 points, is currently third in the NE10 in scoring at 22.3 after a 25-point effort at Saint Anselm. That was the ninth time in ten games this season he's had at least 20. The 94 percent free throw shooter also averages 5.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.1 steals.

Lawson has had a constant starting five during the season's first nine games with Richmond regularly joined by classmate Zach Gilpin (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy), junior Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine/Williston Northampton School) and sophomores Colton Lawrence (Myerstown, Pa./ ELCO HS) and Jordan Mello-Klein (Sharon/Thayer Academy).

Lawrence averages 16.3 points and 7.8 rebounds, and Hudson's production is up to 14.2 points and 8.7 boards. He strung together three straight double-doubles before finishing with 12 and 8 at Saint Anselm. Gilpin (10.6 ppg) and Mello-Klein (9.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.8 apg) are both over .500 from three this year. Mello-Klein is 10 of 13 from deep and Gilpin is 10 of 19.

Saint Rose has played only two games decided by single figures with a four-point win at Adelphi and a four-point loss at Pace. The final spread in the other seven has been 15 or more, with wins by 16, 28 and 19 and losses by 23, 23, 17 and 23.

The Golden Knights have three double-figure scorers with freshman guard Sekou Sylia leading the way at 15.6 points, along with 8.8 rebounds. Senior forward Matt Cerutti and sophomore guard Adam Anderson follow with each scoring 14.1 a game. Anderson has made nearly half his threes (22 of 45) and is 17 of 18 at the foul line.

Offensive rebounding has been a strength for Saint Rose with the Golden Knights having nearly twice as many as their opponents, 106-54.

These two programs split a pair of games last year with each winning on the other's home court. Saint Rose took the regular season match-up, 81-73, while Bentley turned the tables in the Northeast-10 quarterfinals with a 68-65 victory.
 
In the playoff victory, Richmond scored 21 points, Gilpin followed with 19 and former Falcon Brandon Wheeler accounted for the 11th and final lead change to lead Bentley into the NE10 semis. Richmond also led the Falcons in the first meeting, scoring 26.

After facing the Golden Knights, Bentley will be off until a Dec. 19 encounter on Long Island at NYIT.