WALTHAM, Mass. – The Bentley University Falcons, the winningest men's basketball team in the NCAA Division II East Region and a perfect 10-0 in home games, will look for win number 16 Saturday afternoon at 1:30 pm when they host the University of New Haven Chargers in the Dana Center. For those who can't attend, the game will air on the NE10 NOW digital network and www.bentleyfalcons.tv.
Bentley, 15-2 overall and 8-2 in Northeast-10 action, is coming off an 87-79 bounce-back victory over American International College, a game that featured a sensational performance from senior All-Region guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate).
Coach Jay Lawson's team, ranked 18th in Division II, is a game out of first in the NE10's Northeast Division and have clinched a winning season for the 23rd time in 24 years.
New Haven, also in the midst of a quality season, has won six of its last seven to improve to 10-5 overall and 5-4 NE10, good for a three-way tie for first in the Southwest Division.
On Wednesday, Richmond scored the most points by any Bentley player in the 46-year history of the Dana Center, finishing with a Northeast-10 season-best 44 points, one shy of his own school record. He buried 16 of 24 shots overall, many without touching the rim, and matched his career-best with six three-pointers.
Richmond's big night elevated his season average to a conference-leading 22.7 points a game and moved him to fourth on the program's all-time scoring list with exactly 1800.
Lawson's starting lineup has not changed all season and in fact, four of the five were fixtures in last year's as well. Richmond has gotten the nod in 72 straight and senior forward Zach Gilpin (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) has started 45 in a row. Junior forward Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine/Williston Northampton) has been on the court for the opening tip in 34 straight and sophomore guard Jordan Mello-Klein (Sharon/Thayer Academy) has a 25-game streak.
Hudson and sophomore guard Colton Lawrence (Myerstown, Pa./ELCO HS) both score 14.6 points per game and are the team's top rebounders (8.6 and 7.2, respectively). Gilpin will take a 9.9 scoring norm into Saturday and Mello-Klein, provides nine points, 4.9 rebounds and nearly four assists a game.
Off the bench, freshman guard Mason Webb (Oklahoma City, N.Y./Bishop McGuinness HS) scores 4.9 a game.
Junior guard Elijah Bailey has been having an outstanding season for New Haven with his 18.9 average eighth best in the conference. He's scored in the twenties in six of the last seven games, a stretch in which he's giving the Chargers more than 23 a game.
New Haven has a talented frontcourt duo of six-foot-seven Kessly Felizor and six-six Roy Kane, Jr., a pair of juniors. Kane, Jr. scores 10.9 a game and Felizor has a 9.9 average. Coach Ted Hotaling also receives 10.4 points per game from sophomore guard Derrick Rowland.
Bentley and New Haven are among the NE10 leaders in both field goal percentage defense and three-point shooting defense. Charger opponents have been limited to .400 from the field, Bentley's have shot .414 and both team's opponents have a three-point percentage defensive mark of .311. The Falcons are third in scoring and fifth in points allowed while New Haven is first in scoring defense (63.3) and last in offense (69.9),
New Haven held on for an 87-84 win in last year's game, making 11 of 12 free throws in the final 40 seconds. Richmond paced the Falcons with 27, including 14-of-14 from the line, and Bailey netted 24 for the Chargers.
Bentley's two games next week are both on the road, Wednesday at Adelphi and Saturday at Southern Connecticut.