WALTHAM, Mass. – Junior guard Jordan Mello-Klein (Sharon/Thayer Academy) filled the stat sheet with 14 points, seven assists, four rebounds, three steals and a plus-26 as the Bentley University Falcons stayed unbeaten at home with a 72-58 non-conference win over American International in men's college basketball Sunday afternoon at the Dana Center.
Bentley, which led by as many as 24 after trailing by as many as eight, improved to 6-0 at home and 6-1 overall. AIC dropped to 4-4 after being limited to 39 percent shooting.
The Falcons took their first lead of the afternoon, 30-28, when senior guard Seth Stankiewicz (Reading, Pa./Reading HS) scored on a driving lay-up just before the halftime buzzer. That capped a 15-5 run that erased a 23-15 AIC lead with 8:44 remaining in the opening stanza.
The spurt included five points from Mello-Klein and a pair of inside baskets from junior forward Pete Blust (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central HS).
After AIC knotted the contest at 35 early in the second half, Bentley embarked on a 12-2 run to open a 10-point lead, 47-37. Blust had four of the 12 and four other Falcons also figured in the scoring.
With the Yellow Jackets within seven with 9:20 to play, Bentley pulled away by outscoring the visitors 20-3 to open a commanding 69-45 lead with just under five minutes to play. The top scorer during that run was sophomore forward Adria Amabilino Perez (Barcelona, Spain) with six points.
During that stretch, Bentley made all six of its shots from the field and seven free throws while AIC was only one for seven.
Mello-Klein, who made six of his nine shots, was joined in double figures by Blust and Amabilino Perez, each with 11 points. Blust made five of seven shots and also had seven rebounds and two blocks. Amabilino Perez came off the bench to hit five of six and also contributed five boards and two rejections.
Bentley also received nine points from senior forward Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine/ Williston Northampton School) and eight apiece from sophomore guards Mason Webb (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness HS) and Brian Wright-Kinsey (Brooklyn, N.Y./Brooks School).
Senior forward Goree Venable-Gonzalez (Bayonne, N.J.) led AIC with 11 points on five-of-seven shooting.
Bentley, which shot 49 percent overall, only made five of 18 three-pointers but was 24 of 35 inside the arc. That helped the Falcons outscore the Yellow Jackets in the paint, 40-24. Coach Jay Lawson's club also had the advantage in fast break points (14-8), second chance points (15-9) and rebounds (37-28).
After playing six of its first seven at home, Bentley will be on the road for its next two, beginning Wednesday at Assumption.