AIC Hands Bentley 1st Home Loss, 73-67, Despite 19 by McClure
WALTHAM, Mass. – Bentley University's 12-game home winning streak came to an end Wednesday evening as the Falcons were upended by American International College, 73-67, in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball on the Dana Center's Barbara Stevens Court.
Bentley, which had won six of its last seven, dropped to 12-6 overall and into a tie for fourth in the NE10 with a 7-5 conference record. AIC, which had lost five in a row, completed a season series sweep of the Falcons and improved to 6-12 overall (4-8 NE10).
Sophomore guard Cash McClure (Readfield, Maine/Maranacook HS) and graduate wing Kellan Bochenek (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont HS) combined for more than half of the Falcons' offense. McClure, only starter who shot over 40 percent, made eight of ten from the field and finished with 19 points and nine rebounds. Bochenek followed with 16, including 13 in the second half.
Points were at a premium in the first half, which ended with the Yellow Jackets up by three, 26-23. Both teams were four of 12 from downtown, but AIC had slightly more success inside the arc. The visitors were seven of 18 while Bentley hit on only five of 18 two-point attempts, the first not coming until the 7:51 mark.
The Falcons took their final lead of the game, 16-15, on a McClure fast break lay-up with 5:22 left. AIC responded with an 11-5 run and led 26-21 before senior guard Zach Laput (Beacon Falls, Conn./Notre Dame HS) hit a jumper just inside the elbow to complete the first half scoring.
There was plenty of offense in the second half, a total of 91 points, but Bentley couldn't get the needed stops against the hot-shooting Yellow Jackets. AIC shot 62 percent, including four of eight from deep, in a 47-point half, and Bentley's 17-of-34 included only five treys in 15 attempts.
Bentley tied the game at 26 when senior guard Aaron Latham (Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury HS) opened the second with a three from the left wing. After a 10-2 AIC run, the Falcons made it a one-possession game seven more times but could never completely erase the Yellow Jacket advantage.
The last time came with 2:40 left, on a driving lay-up by Bochenek. AIC answered with six straight, a run that began with a tip-in by sophomore Aguibue Balde (Bronx, N.Y.) and Bentley never got closer than six again.
Junior guard Justice Ellison (Windsor, Conn.), the number two scorer in the conference behind Laput, led AIC with 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists.
For Bentley, Latham had nine points and eight assists in 39 turnover minutes, and Laput struggled to eight points, six boards and four assists. Senior forward Ivan Misic (Toronto, Ont.) matched McClure's nine rebounds and helped the Falcons control the boards, 42-14.
Overall, the Falcons were outshot 49-41 percent and forced only four turnovers.
Bentley will look to bounce back Saturday afternoon at New Haven.