Bentley Rallies Past Stonehill, 73-66 (2OT)

Senior Andre Tongo notched his first career double-double with a career-high matching 22 points and career-best 12 rebounds. (PHOTO BY Br. Charles McBride)

Falcons erase 18 point second half deficit to force overtime, jump out to big double-overtime lead to pull out win

EASTON, Mass. (December 10, 2011) – Bentley University overcame an 18 point second half deficit to force overtime and then jumped out to a quick six point lead in the second extra period in claiming a 73-66 double-overtime triumph over Stonehill College, among teams receiving votes in this week's National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II poll, in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action at Merkert Gymnasium this afternoon.

Senior Sam Leclerc (Fayette, Maine/Winthrop) led all scorers with 26 points (22 after halftime) for Bentley as he made 6-of-9 shots from the field, including 3-for-6 from three-point range, and converted 11-of-12 free-throw attempts to go with 11 rebounds and two blocked shots. Junior Greg Jacques (Brockton, Mass./St. Sebastian's) added 15 points, four rebounds and four assists, while classmate Dan O'Keefe (Lexington, Mass./Lexington) pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds to go with eight points and two blocks.

Senior Andre Tongo (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxborough) notched his first career double-double as he matched his career best with 22 points, shooting 10-for-22 from the field, to go with a career-high 12 rebounds (six offensive) and two blocked shots. Junior Brian Hamor (Schenectady, N.Y./Bishop Gibbons) added 12 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals, while classmate Raheem May-Thompson (London, England/Towson Catholic (Md.)) grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds (five offensive) to go with seven points and two assists. Senior Patrick Lee (Fayetteville, N.Y./Fayetteville-Manlius) chipped in with 11 rebounds (four offensive), three blocked shots, three steals and two assists, while junior Adam Fazzini (Drums, Pa./Crestwood) contributed eight points and seven boards off the bench.

Bentley recovered from a first half in which it made just 4-of-29 shots (13.8-percent) from the field, including 2-for-14 (14.3%) from three-point range, to win despite shooting 30.9% (21-68) for the contest. The Falcons shot 44.4% (12-27) in the second half to force overtime, including 7-for-14 (50%) from beyond the arc, and converted 20-of-29 (69%) free-throw attempts on the day, including 13-17 (76.5%) after halftime.

Junior Raheem May-Thompson pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds to go with seven points and two assists. (PHOTO BY Marcus Snowden)

Stonehill finished shooting 31.8% (27-for-85) from the field, but made just 5-of-26 (19.2%) shots over the two overtime sessions, missing all ten three-pointers after regulation. The Skyhawks also went to the free-throw line just nine times, converting four attempts (44.4%), and shot 25.8% (8-31) from beyond the arc for the day. The Skyhawks out-rebounded Bentley 61-53, including 24 offensive boards to finish with a 20-11 advantage in second chance points.  

Jacques scored the first six points of the second overtime session to stake Bentley out to a lead Stonehill couldn't recover from. After Hamor made one of two at the free-throw line to get the Skyhawks on the scoreboard with a minute to play in the second extra session, Jacques drilled two free-throws at the other end to give the Falcons a seven point cushion (69-62) with 50-seconds on the clock.

Tongo scored a put back at the other end and Bentley was whistled for a flagrant one foul, with Hamor making both free-throws to pull Stonehill within a possession (69-66) with 28-seconds left. Hamor missed a driving layup on the ensuing possession and Bentley sealed the win from there by making its last four free-throw attempts.

Bentley trailed by 18 (38-20) with 15:09 left in the second half after back-to-back three-pointers from Tongo and Fazzini. The Falcons reeled off a 17-2 run to get back in the game (40-37) after a tip in by O'Keefe with 8:13 to play. Stonehill looked to be back on track for the win by running the lead back to seven (53-46) with 1:18 remaining after a three-pointer from junior Sam Markle (Bethany, Conn./Saint Thomas More) and jumper by Hamor.

Game Highlights

Stonehill wouldn't score again, missing the front end of two one and ones in the final 41-seconds, and O'Keefe sparked Bentley's final rally with a three pointer, before Leclerc scored a layup and then knotted the score with a pair of free-throws after he was fouled going to the basket with 3.7-seconds remaining.

Stonehill took a four point lead (59-55) when Tongo scored a layup with 1:12 left in the first overtime. Leclerc answered with a three at the other end and then added a conventional three-point play after a Skyhawks miss to put the Falcons in front (61-59) with six seconds remaining. Hamor 's three at the other end to win the game was off the mark, but Fazzini crashed the boards and put the ball back up for a tying basket with 0.7-seconds left to force a second overtime.

Stonehill used a 12-0 run to open a double-digit lead (19-7) after a Tongo layup with 7:49 left in the first half. Bentley drew back within eight (23-15) with 4:24 remaining after a three by sophomore Jasper Grassa (Lynn, Mass./Lynn Classical) and an O'Keefe free-throw. The Skyhawks pushed the lead back to 13 (28-15) with a Markle three with 2:51 left before settling on an 11 point lead (28-17) at the break with neither team scoring over the final 2:32 in the frame.

Stonehill (6-2, 5-2 NE-10) closes out its first semester of play on Tuesday when it visits Queens (N.Y.) College for a non-conference matchup at 5 p.m. The Skyhawks next home game is after the New Year when it returns to Conference play to host the University of New Haven on Tuesday, January 3, at 7:30 p.m.