WALTHAM, Mass. – After closing out 2018 with an 11-1 record, a number 15 ranking in Division II and a three-game winning streak, the Bentley University men's basketball will look to continue the success when they begin the new year with a home conference game Wednesday evening at 7 pm at the Dana Center. A free webcast will be available on NE10 NOW.
Assumption College will be Bentley's first opponent of 2019. The 5-7 Greyhounds are 1-4 in Northeast-10 play and have lost four of their last five, including 70-58 at Caldwell University on Sunday.
Bentley returned from its holiday break with an 81-57 victory over the University of Bridgeport Sunday. It was the ninth time the Falcons have won by double figures, the seventh time they've shot at least .500, the fifth time they've kept the opponents under .400 and the 11th time they've had the rebound advantage.
Senior guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate) led the Falcons against the Purple Knights with his game-high 24 points coming on 10 of 14 shooting. He moved from ninth to sixth on the program's all-time scoring list with 1,681 points and trails number five Tim Forbes '06 by 50.
The Bentley attack against Bridgeport also included a 15-point, 12-rebound double-double from sophomore guard Colton Lawrence (Myerstown, Pa./ELCO HS).
Coach Jay Lawson will enter the Assumption game with his entire starting five owning double-figure scoring averages and shooting at least 50 percent overall and 40 percent from three. As a team, Bentley puts up 86.4 points per game with accuracy marks of .513 overall, .438 from three and .818 free throws.
Richmond, who has taken over the NE10 scoring lead with a 22.3 average, tops a Falcon attack that also receives 15.3 a game from Lawrence, 14.7 from junior forward Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine/Williston Northampton), 10.1 from sophomore guard Jordan Mello-Klein (Sharon/Thayer Academy) and an even ten from senior forward Zach Gilpin (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy).
Having a player achieve shooting numbers of 50, 40 and 90 is rare, but Bentley currently has two players with those numbers, Richmond and Mello-Klein. Richmond is shooting .506 overall, .487 from three and .919 at the charity stripe. Mello-Klein has a .513 field goal percentage, is 18 of 32 from outside the arc (.563) and is 21 of 22 from the line (.955).
Assumption has been a different team in its wins and losses during the first two months of the season. The Greyhounds have averaged 81.4 points while shooting .512 overall and .469 from three-point land in their wins. But in the losses, the scoring dips to 59.7 and the shooting accuracy is just .401, including .315 from deep.
A pair of former NE10 All-Rookie selections, junior forward Branislac Vujadinovic and sophomore point guard Matthew Kelly, lead Assumption in scoring. Vujadinovic, a double-figure scorer for the third straight team, owns a 13.5 average and Kelly follows at 12.9.
Six-foot-six freshman Cal Connolly is a strong candidate for this year's All-Rookie team as he is averaging 10.9 points and shooting 45 percent from outside the arc.
Bentley has pushed its lead in the all-time series with Assumption to 51-37 after prevailing in the last seven meetings, including 82-58 and 87-82 last season.
This week's schedule also has the Falcons closing out the non-conference portion of the schedule with a Saturday matinee on Long Island against Molloy College. That will be a 1 pm start rather than the previously announced 12 noon.