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Kellan Bochenek
Kellan Bochenek

Bentley Finishes Strong for Come-From-Behind 79-70 Win at Pace

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – In a game they trailed by as many as 14 in the first half, the Bentley University Falcons closed with a 13-4 run to win for the sixth time in the last seven games, 79-70 over Pace University in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Goldstein Fitness Center.

Graduate guard Kellan Bochenek (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont HS), the NE10 leader in three-pointers made, sank six from deep, all from the left side, and finished with a game-high 18 points. Senior guard Zach Laput (Beacon Falls, Conn./Notre Dame HS) followed with 17 and moved up four notches on the program's all-time scoring list to 17th.

Bentley, after back-to-back comeback wins on the road, and Pace both finished the day tied for third in the NE10, each with 7-4 conference records. Overall, the Falcons improved to 12-6 and the Setters slipped to 11-6.

The Bentley offense struggled much of the first half but closed with an 11-2 run over the final four minutes, a stretch in which the Falcons limited the Setters to one-for-six with three turnovers. Meanwhile, the Falcon surge was bookended by three-pointers from Bochenek, one from the left win and the other from the left side.

Pace led by as many as 14, 32-18, with points off turnovers (nine) and second chance points (10) key factors in the Setters' success. Bentley lost the ball nine times and watched the home team collect eight offensive rebounds, a rate of 38 percent.

Top scorers in the half were Bochenek with nine, and both grad student Sean Bresnan (Yonkers, N.Y.) and six-nine grad student Marc Dadika (Saddle Brook, N.J.) with eight for Pace.

Bentley's late first-half momentum continued when play resumed as the Falcons scored nine of the first 11 to go up 38-36 with 16:20. Launching that surge was a Bochenek triple.

The next 13 minutes saw very little separation with four ties and three lead changes. Three times, Pace went up by six, but each time, the Falcons were able to cut the margin. Included were a Bochenek three after the Setters went up 48-46 and a trey from senior guard Aaron Latham (Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury HS) after Pace built a 57-51 advantage with 8:35 left.

With the score knotted at 66, Laput claimed an offensive foul, was fouled and made two free throws with 3:13 on the clock. Sophomore guard Cash McClure (Readfield, Maine/Maranacook HS) came up with a steal at the other end and buried a three to push the Falcon advantage to five at 71-66.

Bentley turned the ball over on its next two possessions, but Pace was only able to pick up two points during that stretch. Laput made two free throws with 1:17 left, sophomore forward Joe Carroll (Cedar Grove, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) answered a Setter basket with a fast-break dunk and Latham closed out the win with four free throws in the final 27 seconds.

Bochenek needed only nine shots from deep to connect on his six threes, which matched his career-high. Laput was limited to just five shots but was 10-of-10 at the foul line and also contributed six boards and five assists. He finished the game with 1,443 points after moving past Mason Webb '23, Chris Hudson '20, Ray Andersen '71 and Nate Fritsch '08 on the Falcon scoring list.

Also in doubles for the Falcons were senior forward Ivan Misic (Toronto, Ont.) with 14 and McClure with 12 and a game-high eight rebounds.

Senior guard Tray Alexander (Freeport, N.Y.) led Pace with 17 points, eight assists and four steals.

Bentley, after starting only 5-of-20 from the field, made 17 of its final 23 and finished at .512 overall. In the second half, coach Jay Lawson's team was 14 of 20 overall, six of 11 from deep and perfect on 16 free throws.

The Falcons won the rebounding battle, 29-26, and survived 15 turnovers. Pace shot 46 percent but made only six of 21 from three and had half the free throws that Bentley did, making 10 of 13. The Falcons finished 24 of 26, both season-highs.

 Bentley will be back at home on Wednesday for a 7:30 pm game against American International.