WALTHAM, Mass. – The 147th and final Bentley University home athletic event of 2018 will be held Sunday afternoon when the men's basketball team ends its holiday break by hosting the University of Bridgeport at the Dana Center. Tip-off is set for 2 pm with a free webcast available on NE10 NOW.
Coach Jay Lawson's Bentley Falcons, ranked 15th in Division II, are perfect in six home games and 10-1 overall with an impressive scoring margin of 14.9. Sunday's contest will be the team's first since a 94-57 road victory at NYIT on Dec. 19.
Bridgeport will come into the Dana at 5-7 overall following a surprisingly low-scoring 65-63 overtime loss at Stonehill Saturday. That was the Purple Knights' fifth straight loss following a 5-2 start.
Bentley, whose ten wins include eight decided by double-figures, has three players who are scoring at least 15 a game, including senior guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate).In the midst of his third straight season scoring at least 22 a game, Richmond is an average game away from moving from ninth to sixth on the program's all-time scoring list.
The number two scorer in the Northeast-10 will enter Sunday's matinee with 1,657 points and with 15 more, will surpass Sean Cooke '06, Al Grenfell '75 and Todd Orlando '84.
Junior forward Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine/Williston Northampton) and sophomore guard Colton Lawrence (Myerstown, Pa./ELCO HS) both produce over 15 points a game. Hudson, who is shooting 56 percent from the field, has scored 20+ in four of the last five games and has four double-doubles in the last six. Lawrence, whose 7.4 rebound average is second to Hudson's 8.9, has twice matched his uniform number of 24 in the scoring column this season.
Rounding out the starting unit are senior forward Zach Gilpin (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) and sophomore guard Jordan Mello-Klein (Sharon/Thayer Academy), both just a shade under 10 points a game. Mello-Klein has shot 52 percent from three for his career, including 55 percent this season.
Leading the Falcons in playing time off the bench has been freshman guard Mason Webb (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness HS). Playing 15 minutes a game, he's averaging 4.5 points. He's made at least one three nine of 11 contests.
Bentley ranks among the top two in the NE10 in a number of categories, including scoring (86.9), scoring margin, rebound margin (7.9) and all three shooting categories (.512 field goal, .438 threes, .811 free throws).
Both Bentley and Bridgeport make about 17 free throws a game but there is a huge contrast in what the two teams allow. The Falcon opponents make only about 10.1 a game while Bridgeport's average 22.5.
High-scoring games are the norm for a Bridgeport team that averages 92 points, gives up 91 a game and forces nearly 22 turnovers per contest. The Purple Knights have allowed their opponents to shoot 49 percent overall and 43 percent from downtown.
Bridgeport has five players who own double-figure averages but two of those didn't see action against Stonehill, seniors DeVonne Trumbo (12.8) and Eric Rankin (12.7).
Six-foot-seven junior Bakary Camara, the only UB player to start every game, scores a team-best 14.3 a game and is also the team's top rebounder at 6.4. Six-foot-six sophomore Hashem Abbas has an 11.9 scoring average and has made 57 percent of his shots.
Bentley trails the all-time series, 19-15, but the Falcons have had the edge over the past 15 years, winning 10 of the last 12 meetings. One of those Purple Knights wins came down in Connecticut a year ago, 72-70.
Bentley will also be at home on Wednesday evening, hosting Assumption College in the first home event of 2019.