RINDGE, N.H. – Bentley University graduate student Keegan Hyland (South Portland, Maine/ South Portland HS) scored 23 of his game-high 32 points in the second half but it wasn't quite enough to overcome a 22-point first-half deficit as the Falcons fell to Franklin Pierce University, 92-82, in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Saturday afternoon at the FPU Field House.
Bentley, which dropped to 17-6 overall (14-4 NE-10), remained in sole possession of first place in the NE-10's Northeast Division as a result of Saint Anselm being upended by St. Michael's up in Vermont. The Falcons will go into Wednesday's home game with St. Michael's (7:30 pm) with a one-game advantage over both Saint Anselm and Stonehill.
Down 45-27 at the break, Bentley was within four before the second half was four minutes old on the strength of a 16-2 explosion. Hyland had half the points, including a pair of three-balls, and senior guard Alex Furness (Wells, Maine/Wells HS) also canned two from distance.
Bentley made it a one-possession game five times in the second half, but each time, Franklin Pierce didn't let the comeback go any further. It was 59-56 after a lay-up from Falcon senior forward Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills HS) with 11:17 to play, but eight straight by the Ravens, including a pair of threes from sophomore forward Asante Sandiford (Boston, Mass.), put Franklin Pierce back up 11, 67-56.
A 10-foot jumper in the paint by McFarland brought the Falcons to within two for the third time, 73-71, with 5:32 left. After both teams missed a shot, Franklin Pierce ran off nine in a row, beginning with a three from six-foot-eight sophomore Mike McDevitt (Cumberland, Maine). That made it an 85-71 contest with just under two minutes to play and the Falcons never recovered.
The first half of the wire-to-wire win was all Franklin Pierce as the Ravens jumped out to leads of 10-2, 17-5 and 34-13 before going into the half up 18, 45-27. The Ravens shot 56 percent overall in the half, limited the Falcons to just 27 percent and dominated the boards, 26-14. Bentley managed only two offensive rebounds on 25 opportunities in the first.
Hyland rebounded from a 3-for-10 first-half to make 9 of 15 in the second, with four three-pointers. He was five of nine overall from outside, and also provided five rebounds.
McFarland, who moved within 22 of 2,000 career points, also did most of his damage in the second, scoring 15 of his 22 after intermission. He claimed seven rebounds and led the Falcons with four assists.
Furness was the only other Falcon in doubles as he finished with 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds. He's now 29 points away from 1,000 for his career.
McDevitt, one of five Ravens to score at least 11, made 8 of 13 shots overall with a pair of threes. Junior guard Matt Banton (Brooklyn, N.Y.) was a force off the bench with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting and seven boards.
Both teams shot 55 percent in the second half with Franklin Pierce finishing at .557 and Bentley .425. The home team had a 12-11 edge in three-pointers and wound up outrebounding the Falcons by two, 39-37. Bentley committed only seven turnovers, three less than the Ravens.