WALTHAM, Mass. – Locked in a three-way tie for second place in the Northeast-10 Conference, the Bentley University men's basketball team will be looking to improve on its 6-1 road record when the Falcons take on Le Moyne College Wednesday night in Syracuse, N.Y.
Tipoff at Le Moyne's Ted Grant Court is set for 7:30 pm. Links to live stats and video will be available at www.bentleyfalcons.com.
Bentley, 17-3 away from home since the start of last season following Saturday's 66-54 win at New Haven, stands a game back of first-place Adelphi University and even with Stonehill and Franklin Pierce in the NE-10 standings. Depending on the outcome of Wednesday's action, there could be a four-way tie for the top spot since Stonehill will be playing the conference-leading Panthers.
Coach Jay Lawson's squad (13-4, 9-4 NE-10) will be taking on a Le Moyne team that leads the Northeast-10 in field goal percentage (.473) and is second in three-point accuracy (.386). The Dolphins have dropped their last two games, falling to two teams that have found success in January after rough starts to the season, UMass-Lowell and Saint Anselm.
Those two losses have dropped the Dolphins to 9-8 overall and 5-8 in the NE-10. Most of the team's success has come on its home court, where it has won five of eight. Le Moyne is currently tied for 13th place, but is just a game out of seventh, where six teams are tied.
Three-pointers will likely abound on Wednesday as both clubs are amongst the conference's best in that category. No NE-10 team makes more threes than the Falcons and Bentley's .377 accuracy mark ranks third. Le Moyne is one of only two clubs in the NE-10 that has a better percentage from downtown, and its average of 7.3 makes a game ranks fourth.
Bentley's three-point shooters are primarily senior guard Sam Leclerc (Fayette, Maine/ Winthrop HS), sophomore guard Jasper Grassa (Lynn/Lynn Classical HS) and freshman forward Andrew Shaw (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy). Combined, they've drained 128 triples, more than 10 teams in the conference have.
Grassa is one three-ball away from becoming only the second NE-10 player to reach 50 triples for the season, and the other two rank in the top six in the conference in percentage. Shaw, coming off a 5-for-7 effort at New Haven, connects at a 47 percent success rate, and Leclerc follows at 45 percent, with 42 three-balls.
Three-point threats for Le Moyne include senior guard Chris Johnson (42-106,.396) and sophomore forward Brian Zapisek (35-91, .385). Guards Garnal Mohamed and James Cormier don't shoot as often, but when they do, they are usually on target, with Cormier at 45 percent (17-38) and Mohamed at 42 (21-50).
Both teams have been solid in defending the three with Le Moyne second in the conference in opponents three-point percentage (.305) and Bentley third (.314).
Grassa and Leclerc lead Bentley in scoring, averaging 14.4 and 14.1 respectively. Junior forward Dan O'Keefe (Lexington/Lexington HS) follows at 12.3, and Shaw gives the Falcons 10.3 off the bench.
Zapisek and six-foot-eight Jim Janson, whose .614 field goal percentage is third in the NE-10, top the scoring list for Le Moyne with averages of 13.2 and 12.4. Sophomore guard Nate Champion scores 10.7 a game and is one of the NE-10's top playmakers (97 assists), and Johnson can be counted on for 9.5 points a game.
After the trip to central New York, Bentley will embark on a three-game homestand, beginning Saturday against Southern Connecticut State.