WALTHAM, Mass. – Bentley University senior All-Region guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./ Thomson Collegiate) erupted for 44 points, one shy of his own school record and the most ever scored by a Falcon in the Dana Center, as the 18th-ranked team in Division II improved to 15-2 with an 87-79 win over American International College Wednesday night in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball.
Bentley, 8-2 in conference play, outscored the Yellow Jackets (8-9, 4-5 NE10) 49-38 in the second half after trailing by three at the break.
Richmond, who set the school record of 45 during the 2017 NE10 playoffs at Adelphi University, shot a blistering 16 of 24 from the floor, including six of ten from downtown, and made six of seven free throws. He also had three assists and three rebounds, and did not commit a turnover in 38:56 of playing time.
Richmond finished the night with exactly 1,800 career points and surpassed former two-time All-America Brian Hammel '75 for fourth place on the program's all-time scoring list. Hammel, a Milwaukee Bucks draft choice, finished his illustrious career with 1,767 points.
The highest scoring individual performance in the Northeast-10 this season was split between 19 in the first half and 25 in the second.
AIC carried a 41-38 lead into halftime after closing the opening stanza with an 8-2 run. The Yellow Jackets started fast as well, using a quartet of three-pointers to outscore the Falcons 24-14 over the first nine minutes
Still down nine with eight-plus minutes left in the first, Bentley turned the game around with a 16-4 run over the next four-and-a-half minutes. Richmond had the final nine Falcon points after freshman guard Mason Webb (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness HS) provided five off the bench.
Bentley opened the second half with a 13-5 run and never relinquished the lead following a fast break three-pointer buried by sophomore guard Jordan Mello-Klein (Sharon/Thayer Academy) from the right corner.
After AIC drew within one at 56-55 with 10:55 to play, Richmond bookended an 8-2 run to push the difference back to seven, 64-57 with 8:48 to go. He started it with two free throws and finished it with a driving lay-up, with baskets by sophomore guard Colton Lawrence (Myerstown, Pa./ELCO HS) and Mello-Klein in between.
A couple minutes later, two more free throws by Richmond ignited a 12-0 burst that broke the game open. He knocked down a couple triples as the Falcon lead grew to a game-high 17, 78-61 with four minutes to play.
Lawrence was the only other Falcon in doubles as he finished with 10 points and five rebounds. Mello-Klein finished with nine points, four assists and four steals, and Webb matched him in the scoring column.
Junior Zekiah Owens (Spencerport, N.Y.) and freshman Isaiah Salter (Concord, N.C.) each tallied 19 for AIC.
Bentley outshot the visitors 55-48 percent overall and 64-40 percent in the second half. The Falcons had two more threes (10-8), six more free throws (15-9) and four less turnovers (11-15), but were outrebounded 33-30.
The Falcons will also be at home Saturday with New Haven providing the opposition. Game time is at 1:30 pm.