MANCHESTER, N.H. – An 11-4 advantage in three-pointers, including 6-0 in the second half, accounted for much of the difference as Saint Anselm College went wire-to-wire for an 86-66 win over Bentley University in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Saturday afternoon at Stoutenburgh Gym.
Saint Anselm was led by the triumvirate of senior guard Taylor Fortin (Tolland, Conn.) and junior guards Cody Ball (Londonderry, N.H.) and Tim Guers (Langhorne, Pa.), who combined for 62 points, 20 rebounds and 13 assists.
Junior guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate) led the way for Bentley with 22 points, his 17th 20-point game of the season.
Despite the loss, Bentley (12-11, 9-9 NE10) remained in a tie for fourth in the conference's Northeast Division as the two teams closest to the Falcons in the standings (Southern New Hampshire, Franklin Pierce) also lost. Saint Anselm (18-5, 13-5) maintained its one game lead over Merrimack in the battle for first.
Red-hot shooting by Saint Anselm over the first seven minutes propelled the Hawks to an early 21-9 lead. They knocked down four of five triples, including two by Ball, and eight of 11 overall to make it a quick 12-point differential.
Bentley ran off eight straight, half of the points coming from Richmond, to cut the difference to four for the first of three times in the opening half, including 41-37 at the break.
The Falcons, who have now lost consecutive games for the first time in two months, also got to within four a couple other times in the second half before Saint Anselm opened the game up. That came on a 15-2 blast that gave the Hawks a 62-45 led. Freshmen Chris Paul (Highland Mills, N.Y.) and Gustav Suhr-Jensen (Virum, Denmark) each scored five during that stretch.
Bentley netted the next six, including four by Richmond, to get back within 11 before Saint Anselm responded with the game's next eight points. That made it 70-51 with 8:48 to play and the Falcons never challenged again.
Ball knocked down six of his dozen attempts from deep and finished with a game-high 24 points. Fortin followed with 20 points and seven rebounds, and Guers added 18, along with 10 boards and five helpers.
Other than Richmond, Bentley's only double-figure scorer was sophomore forward Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine/Northampton Willison School) with 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Freshman guard Jordan Mello-Klein (Sharon, Mass./Thayer Academy) finished with eight points and seven rebounds, and classmate Colton Lawrence (Myerstown, Pa./ELCO HS) helped with seven off the bench.
Shooting from outside the arc heavily favored the home team with Saint Anselm finishing 11 of 26 and Bentley just four of 18. Bentley turned the ball over only six times, half of the Hawks total, but Saint Anselm shot better overall (51-42 percent) and claimed 14 more rebounds, 44-30.
Bentley will close out the regular season home schedule this week with games against St. Michael's Wednesday (7:30 pm) and Merrimack Saturday (2 pm).