ALBANY, N.Y. – The Bentley University men's basketball team staged a major comeback Wednesday night against The College of Saint Rose, but came up short against the Golden Knights, losing for just the second time in seven games.
In Northeast-10 Conference action at the Daniel P. Nolan Gymnasium, the Falcons cut a 26-point deficit to four before free throws helped Saint Rose, the second-ranked team in the D2SIDA East Region poll, hold on for a 90-83 victory.
Both teams had five double-figure scorers (four starters and one reserve for each) with sophomore guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate) leading Bentley with 20 and junior guard Mical-Ryan Boyd (Hempstead, N.Y.) doing the same for Saint Rose.
Bentley dropped back to .500 overall (9-9) and slipped to 6-7 in conference play. Saint Rose, 9-1 in its last 10, climbed to 17-4 overall and 10-3 NE10, good for a tie for first in the Southwest Division.
This one got away from Bentley quick in the first half after the Falcons trailed by only one with 13:40 left. The Golden Knights scored 18 unanswered in only 2:40, many of those coming in transition off Falcon turnovers, with Boyd accounting for eight of those points.
After Richmond interrupted the explosion with a three, Saint Rose replied with 10 straight points to open a commanding 40-14 lead with 7:40 left on the first-half clock. At that point, the Golden Knights were an incredible 17 of 23 from the floor with four three-pointers.
The differential was down to 11 by the half as Saint Rose missed their final six shots of the first and Bentley closed with an 18-3 burst. Junior forward Brandon Wheeler (Stamford, Conn./Trinity Catholic HS) was a factor, scoring eight of the 18.
Bentley gradually continued to cut into the lead in the second half, making it a two-possession game on several occasions. A Richmond three with 6:44 left made it a five-point spread, 71-66, and the Falcons got to within four three times in the final 3:50, the first time at 77-73 on a triple by sophomore forward Zach Gilpin (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy).
The Falcons were forced to foul in the final minute and Saint Rose took advantage, making seven of ten in the final 52.4 seconds to hold on to the lead.
Richmond scored 17 of his 20 in the second half despite playing much of the half with four fouls. Wheeler followed with 17 on 6-of-8 shooting, Gilpin made all eight of his free throws en route to 16 points, and senior guard Ferguson Duke (Dartmouth, N.S./Hun School)) helped with 12 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Bentley also received a lift off the bench from junior forward Matt Turkington (Cromwell, Conn./Cromwell HS). He made three of four triples and finished with a career-best 13 points in 18 minutes.
For Saint Rose, Boyd was followed in the scoring column by All-Conference senior forward Tyler Sayre (Garnerville, N.Y.) with 19 points.
Both teams shot well overall with Bentley finishing at 52 percent overall, 13 of 27 from three and 20 of 23 at the line. Saint Rose, which more than doubled the Falcons in the paint (32-14), finished with a .544 field goal percentage. The Knights had six triples and made 22 of 29 at the stripe.
Bentley had an uncharacteristic 17 turnovers, leading to 25 Saint Rose points, while Saint Rose lost the ball only ten times.
On Saturday, Bentley will be in New Haven, Conn. to face the other Southwest Division co-leader, Southern Connecticut.