Laput’s 30 Includes 11 During Game-Ending 15-0 Run as Bentley Rallies Late
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Senior All-America guard Zach Laput (Beacon Falls, Conn./Notre Dame HS scored 30 points, including 11 during a game-ending 15-0 blast, as Bentley University came from behind for a 72-66 win over Southern Connecticut State University in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Tuesday night at the Moore Field House.
Bentley, which was looking up at a 66-57 Owl advantage with five minutes to play, pitched a shutout the rest of the night to improve to 11-6 overall and 6-4 in the conference. With their fifth win in their last six games, coach Jay Lawson's club moved into a tie for fourth in the NE10.
Laput drained a three from the right wing with 7:30 left to reduce a nine-point deficit to two, 59-57. Southern responded by running off seven in a row, including a three by graduate forward Josh McGettigan (Southbury, Conn.) after a Falcon turn, and the clock went under five minutes with the Owls back up nine. That trey proved to be the Owls' final basket of the game.
The game-winning run began with two free throws by Laput, a steal by Laput and a tip-in by senior forward Ivan Misic (Toronto, Ont.). Sophomore guard Cash McClure (Readfield, Maine/Maranacook HS) hit a turnaround jumper in the paint with 3:15 to play, and after a Southern turnover, Laput buried a triple from the right wing and the two teams were tied for the ninth time with 2:39 to play.
After the Owls came up empty on their next four possessions, Laput's turnaround jumper in the lane with 1:03 left gave Bentley its first lead since the 14:40 mark of the second half.
Bentley regained the ball after an Owl missed try from deep went out of bounds and Laput made it a two-possession game, 70-66, with a driving lay-up with 0:19 left.
Following Southern misses from the line and from three, Laput finished his second straight brilliant scoring performance with two free throws with two seconds left.
The Owls came up empty on their final 11 possessions with seven missed shots, a missed front end of a one-and-one and three turnovers.
The first half ended with Bentley up 28-24 as both teams shot only about 32 percent. The Falcons turned it over 10 times in the stanza, but offset that with two more threes, four more free throws and eight more rebounds.
Consecutive three-pointers by Laput and senior guard Aaron Latham (Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury HS) gave Bentley a 40-34 lead. The Owls countered with back-to-back three-balls of their own and went on to a 22-7 run over the next five-plus minutes. That made it 56-47 with 9:35 remaining.
Laput, who scored 35 in Saturday's win over Franklin Pierce, surpassed 1,400 career points while playing all 40 minutes. He made nine of 14 shots overall, five of eight from downtown and seven of nine free throws. In addition, he was credited with four rebounds, four steals and ten fouls drawn. Also in doubles for the Falcons were graduate guard Kellan Bochenek (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont HS) with 13 and Latham with 11. McClure followed with nine points and 11 rebounds, which helped the Falcons finish with a 39-30 advantage in that department.
Sophomore forward Kazell Stewart (East Hartford, Conn.) led Southern (11-5, 5-5 NE10) with 14 points.
Bentley's next game is Saturday at Pace University (3:30 pm).