By Cameron Estelle
The Bentley Men and Women’s Basketball teams opened the 2014-2015 season with a bang, winning three out of four games and proving why the Falcons are a force to be reckoned with once again in the NE-10.
On Friday night, the men’s team took to the Dana Center for the Tip-Off Classic to kick off their 2014-2015 campaign against 14-ranked Philadelphia University. The Falcons got off to a very slow start with erratic shooting in the first half. The team shot only 29% from the floor and started the night 0 for 8. They were only 3 for 17 from the three point line, while Philadelphia shot 56% and dropped 4 of their 6 threes.
Bentley managed to chip away at the 13-point deficit at the end of the first half thanks to a 3 pointer from junior forward Tyler McFarland with 58 seconds left and a last second steal by sophomore guard Ferguson Duke to bring the Falcons to within 8.
The second half was all Bentley. A 13-2 run evened up the score at 46 with 10:17 left to play, thanks in part to a pair of threes from Duke. Philly took the lead again with a 10-5 run, but an 8 point outburst by the Falcons gave Bentley a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game. The Rams came to within four with 2:47 remaining, but an 8 point storm from Bentley, keyed by a sizzling three-pointer from junior Shaq Phelps, ended the comeback effort and sealed the win.
Tearing up the stat sheet for Bentley was senior guard JP Koury, who finished with 18 points, nine rebounds, five steals and three assists. McFarland also finished with 18 points, with senior guard Keegan Hyland and Duke hitting double digits in points. Bentley was outrebounded 40-31, but finished with a stunning 22-2 advantage in points off turnovers
Saturday night was not as sweet for the Bentley men, as a last second layup by Holy Family University snatched victory away from the Falcons. Bentley had an 11 point lead with 9 minutes left, but only managed two free throws over the next four and a half minutes, as the Tigers took advantage of multiple turnovers in a 14-2 run.
The Falcons sparked an 8-0 run to end the dry spell and take a lead, but with under 30 seconds left, two turnovers led to a Tiger lead. Keegan Hyland put Bentley back in front briefly, but Holy Family guard Reggie Charles would have the last laugh with his last-second layup.
Compared to Friday night, Bentley had a much better start on Saturday from the field, knocking down six of their first 9.
The Falcons had a 3% advantage in shooting percentage over the Tigers (42-39), but were outshot from beyond the arc.
Holy Family went 13 of 35 and Bentley went 7 of 20. Bentley led in rebounds and free throws, 42-32 and 20-3, respectively.
Not to be forgotten was senior guard Keegan Hyland, who put up a career night, dropping 31 points and 10 rebounds. The Bentley men look to get back in the win column Wednesday as they travel to Assumption College to open the Northeast-10 Conference schedule.
In news that shocks nobody, the Bentley Women’s basketball team is still winning. The defending NCAA Division II national champions swept their pair of games this weekend to extend their winning streak to 37.
On Friday night, the women traveled to Merrimack College to take on the Goldey-Beacom Lightning in the Northeast-10/CACC Challenge. 5-ranked Bentley never trailed in a game that ended 62-52, but did struggle to put away the pesky Lightning, who remained within single digits for most of the game.
Bentley was strong from the start, going on a 13-4 run in the first five minutes. However, Goldey-Beacom hung on and pulled within one with 10:15 remaining in the game. The Falcons responded with a 9 point outburst and although the Lightning would come as close as five, they could not close the gap and fell short of the upset.
Leading the way for Bentley was freshman Trevena Bennett. In her collegiate debut, Bennett put up a game-high 18 points.
Also coming out strong in the opener was sophomore post Jen Gemma, who added 17 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
The Bentley starters are very young, with only one combined start between them, but clearly that was not an issue. The Falcons also dominated rebounds 51-34, which helped produce a 20-4 advantage in second-chance points.
The women extended their streak to 37 games on Saturday night, using a dominating first half to cruise to a victory against Post University. Again leading the way for the Falcons were Bennett and Gemma. Each starting in just their second games of their careers, they combined for 29 points. Bennett hit five three-pointers and Gemma picked up 13 rebounds to give her a second straight double-double.
The Falcons took care of business in the first half with an explosive 20-2 run to give them a 35-13 lead going into the second half. Post did not even manage to make a field goal for the final ten and a half minutes. The scoring was split between nine different Falcons, with Bennett leading the way with 8 points.
Bentley hit a bit of a rough patch during the game, when a five and a half minute stretch saw Post go on a 16-0 run. Post managed to cut a 33-point lead down to 11, but the Falcons help on to win a convincing matchup. Bentley outshot and out-rebounded their opponent, shooting 50% to Post’s 34% and picking up 53 of the 76 total rebounds.
“Trevena had a good weekend for sure. She and our other freshman will be called upon to contribute quite a bit this season” said Coach Stevens. The wealth of young talent that this team has shown says that this program will continue to be strong for a long time.
The women are at Assumption College on Wednesday to open Northeast-10 action and to hunt for their thirty-eighth straight win and will raise the national championship banner before Saturday’s home-opener against Stonehill College at 1:30 PM.