WALTHAM, Mass. – Freshman guard Roy Mabrey (Belmar, N.J.) scored 26 points, including 14 in the first 8:36, and sophomore forward Allen Harris (Roslindale) had four points and two blocks during a late 9-0 run as Saint Anselm College got by Bentley University, 81-75, in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Dana Center.
The loss dropped the defending NE-10 regular season champions two games back of first-place Adelphi University in the standings with Bentley falling to 15-6 overall and 11-6 NE-10. Saint Anselm moved to within one game of .500 both overall and in the conference, the Hawks improving to 10-11 (8-9 NE-10).
Down by seven with a little less than four minutes left until the halftime break, Bentley temporarily turned the game around by outscoring the Hawks 17-6 over a span of seven minutes. It was 8-3 over the last 3:50 of the first half as a three-point play by junior guard Greg Jacques (Brockton/St. Sebastian's HS), a put-back from senior forward Kevin Kettl (Hershey, Pa./Hershey HS) and a three-ball from junior guard Mike Topercer (Scotttsdale, Ariz./New Hampton Prep) brought the Falcons to within 36-34 at the half.
The Falcons stayed hot when play resumed with nine of the first 12 points of the second going up on the Bentley side of the scoreboard. Senior guard Sam Leclerc (Fayette, Maine/Winthrop HS) was one of four to contribute points, his coming on a tie-breaking three-ball from the left wing.
Later in the half, Saint Anselm used a 12-2 run to turn a 48-45 Falcon lead into a 53-48 Hawk advantage. That flurry was capped by back-to-back treys from sophomore guard John Nielsen (Port Jefferson, N.Y.) and Mabrey.
After the Hawks stretched the differential out to seven, Bentley closed to within one twice in the final five minutes. A pair of three-balls from sophomore guard Jasper Grassa (Lynn/Lynn Classical HS) made it 64-63 with 4:33 left and a Jacques lay-up put the score at 66-65 with 3:57 left.
Bentley had a chance to take the lead about 30 seconds later, but Leclerc's lay-up was rejected by Harris, who had been quiet up to that point. Mabrey answered with a five-foot runner, and Harris followed with two lay-ups that were separated by his second block. Three free throws from sophomore guard Dino Mallios (Winthrop) extended the Hawk lead to 75-65 with the clock down to 48.3 seconds left.
Bentley scored ten points in the final 36 seconds, but six Hawk free throws in as many attempts held off the Falcons.
Grassa, who buried five of six three-pointers, topped the scoring list for the Falcons with 19 points, all but three coming in the second half. Leclerc followed with 13 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, and Kettl tied his career-best with a dozen points. Freshman guard J.P. Koury (Red Bank, N.J./CBA) led Bentley in rebounds with eight, along with six points, in his first career start.
Mabrey, a former high school teammate of Koury, had the hot hand from three-point land (5-10) and the foul line (7-7). Mallios and Harris joined him in doubles, with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Bentley shot better overall, 47-42 percent, but Saint Anselm had the edge in rebounds (39-33) and with the late parade to the foul line, outscored the Falcons 18-7 at the charity stripe.
Bentley will look to get back on track, and to avenge an earlier loss (67-59 on Nov. 30), when it visits St. Michael's College Wednesday.