WALTHAM, Mass. – Before a ten-day holiday break begins, the Bentley University men's basketball team has one more item of business, Wednesday night's non-conference contest at NYIT. Tip-off is at 5 pm and a webcast will be available at eccsportsnetwork.com.
It will be only the fourth meeting all-time between the two programs. They last played during the 2007-08 season and will be facing off on the NYIT campus for the first time in more than 50 years.
This season, Bentley and NYIT have had opposite results to date. Bentley, idle since an 80-63 win over Saint Rose, will travel to Long Island with a 9-1 record, a +12.7 scoring margin and a number 17 ranking in the latest NABC Division II coaches' poll.
NYIT, which will be playing for the fourth time in nine days, has struggled to a 1-10 start with the only win coming at home against Queens College (N.Y.). Four of the losses have come against Northeast-10 Conference members.
All five Falcon starters will enter Wednesday's game owning double-digit scoring averages with the quintet shooting 52 percent overall, 45 percent from three and 83 percent free throws.
At the head of the list is senior All-Region guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate), the number ten scorer in program history at 1,633 points. He's only ten points back of Derek Dixon '87 for ninth and 39 away from cracking the top six.
This season, Richmond is providing 21.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.4 rebounds a game.
Sophomore guard Colton Lawrence (Myerstown, Pa./ELCO HS) is next at 15.5 points per game, a jump of more than 11 from his rookie season. He leads the Falcons in three-pointers (20), rebounds (7.5 per game) and blocks (10) while shooting .522 overall.
Junior forward Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine/Williston Northampton) has totaled 96 points and 48 rebounds in his last five games. That has elevated his season norms to 15 points and a team-best 8.5 rebounds.
Also in doubles are senior forward Zach Gilpin (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) and sophomore guard Jordan Mello-Klein (Sharon/Thayer Academy), Mello-Klein has buried 15 of 27 threes this season and is a career 52 percent shooter from deep.
While Bentley coach Jay Lawson has used the same starting five in all ten games, the same cannot be said for NYIT's Kevin Hamilton. No player has started every game and all 13 players on the road have started at least one.
The Bears are without senior forward Jeffrey Hayden, who scored 27 in an exhibition at UCLA and averaged 22.5 points in the first two games. A knee injury will keep him out the rest of the season. His loss was a major one as NYIT has averaged only 62.7 points since.
The top scorers have been sophomore guard Marcus Saint-Furcy and freshman wing Zahir Porter, with both slightly over 11 a game. Six-foot-five Collins Oyeike, a shot blocker with 24 in seven games, has not played in the team's last three.
As a team, NYIT shoots .380 overall, .313 from three and .614 from the free throw stripe.
Following the break, Bentley will resume action Dec. 30 at home against the University of Bridgeport Purple Knights.