Bentley Tops Stonehill, 58-45

Senior Mike Kernan had a double-double with game-high's of 14 points and 13 rebounds at Bentley tonight. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)  

Balanced scoring leads Falcons in defensive battle

WALTHAM, Mass. (December 8, 2010) – Bentley University, among teams receiving votes in this week's NABC Division II poll, remained unbeaten in conference play with a 58-45 victory over Stonehill College in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action at the Dana Athletic Center tonight.

Junior Sam Leclerc (Fayette, Maine/Winthrop) led a balanced offensive output for Bentley with ten points, aided by 2-for-4 shooting from three-point range while converting both free-throw attempts, to go with three rebounds and three steals. Senior Brian Tracey (Bow Mar, Colo./Kimball Union Academy) nearly notched a double-double with nine points and a team-best 11 rebounds to go with a block and two steals. Grad student Mike Quinn (Oakdale, Conn./Montville) contributed nine points on 4-of-6 shooting, four rebounds, three assists and six steals, while senior Tom Dowling (Rockville Centre, N.Y./South Side) chipped in nine points, shooting 7-for-8 at the free-throw line, and two assists.

Senior Mike Kernan (Medford, N.J./Shawnee) posted a double-double for Stonehill with game-highs of 14 points and a season-best 13 rebounds (six offensive), three assists and two steals. Sophomore Sam Markle (Bethany, Conn./Saint Thomas More) added seven points, two assists and two steals, while junior Patrick Lee (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) pulled down seven boards.

Sophomore Sam Markle contributed seven points, two assists and two steals. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)

Bentley shot 46.5-percent (20-for-43) from the field, including 50% (9-18) in the second half, and converted 11-of-13 (84.6%) free-throws for the night. Stonehill was limited to 34% (18-53) shooting from the field, including 28% (7-25) in the first half, and connected on just 5-of-20 (25%) three-pointers. Rebounds were even at 31 apiece, resulting in a modest 8-4 edge in second chance points for the Skyhawks, but the Falcons bench outscored that of the visitors, 21-11.

Stonehill came out firing early behind six points from Kernan to lead 6-2 five minutes into the game. Bentley responded with a 12-2 run over the next five minutes to reverse the lead (14-8) after a three-pointer from sophomore Greg Jacques (Brockton, Mass./St. Sebastian's) with 10:10 to go before the break. The Falcons extended their lead to 13 (29-16) at the half, sparked by three-pointers from Quinn and Leclerc during a 10-2 run over the final 3:32.

Stonehill drew within nine (29-20) after baskets from senior Daniel Heppert (Richmond, Va./Benedictine) and junior Ivan Almeida (Praia, Cape Verde) to start the second half. Bentley answered and regained its 13 point advantage (33-20) after a Tracey jumper with 15:47 to play. The Skyhawks made a run to close within four (38-34) following a three from sophomore Brian Hamor (Guilderland, N.Y./Bishop Gibbons) with 9:48 to go. Kernan led the push with six points during the 14-5 run.

Bentley held Stonehill right there and used a 15-6 run over the next six minutes to again regain the 13-point lead (53-40) after a Tracey jumper with 3:49 to play. While that would prove to be the Falcons last field goal of the night, Dowling canned five of six free-throws down the stretch to seal the win and didn't allow the Skyhawks within ten the rest of the way.

Stonehill (5-3, 3-3 NE-10) is back in action next Tuesday when it visits Concordia (N.Y.) University at 6 p.m. The Skyhawks do not return home until Wednesday, January 5, to host Southern Connecticut State University at 7:30 p.m. Bentley (7-2, 6-0 NE-10) travels to the University of Bridgeport on Sunday at 3 p.m.