WALTHAM, Mass. – Juniors Cody Ball and Tim Guers scored 25 points each to propel the Saint Anselm College men's basketball team to an 88-86 win over the host Falcons from Bentley University on Saturday at the Dana Center.
Saint Anselm improves to 7-3 on the season, collecting its fifth win in seven Northeast-10 Conference games to date. Bentley falls to 6-3 on the young season, dipping to 4-3 against league opponents.
Ball was 9-for-15 from the floor, pouring home a career-high seven three-point baskets. Guers made 10 field goals on the afternoon, tallying seven assists and five rebounds while senior Taylor Fortin made four treys on the day to finish with 20 points and four assists. Austin Nydegger scored eight points off the bench for the Hawks.
With the score tied at 86 with 32 seconds left, Guers was fouled in the paint attempting the go-ahead basket. After two-straight timeouts called by the Bentley bench, Guers recorded back-to-back free throw makes to give his team an 88-86 lead. Following two additional timeouts, a last second shot by the Falcons fell short to secure a thrilling two-point win for the Hawks.
There were a total of 19 lead changes in the game despite the Hawks falling behind 12-5 early following a Ryan Richmond three-point basket. Only minutes later, Fortin, Guers and freshman Chris Paul strung together seven-straight points to capture a 15-14 lead near the midpoint of the first half.
Kyle Green would later set up a Guers layup with 9:13 to go in the first half, boosting the Hawks to a four-point lead, 26-22. Bentley would continue the back-and-forth theme in the game, building a seven-point lead, 44-37, with 1:54 left before halftime following a Zach Gilpin three-point basket.
Fortin had the game's lone shot in the final 90 seconds of the first half, pouring home a clutch three-point basket to cut the Bentley halftime lead to 44-42. Bentley led by only two points despite the Hawks committing seven of the game's 12 turnovers and scoring 12 points off of turnovers.
Once again trailing by four points only 1:21 into the second half, the Hawks went on a 13-2 scoring run to assume a seven-point lead, 57-50, just over two minutes later. Fortin bombed two three-point baskets and Ball registered five points during that scoring stretch.
The Saint Anselm lead eventually grew to 12 points following a Ball triple, setting the score at 79-67 with 6:50 remaining in regulation time. Bentley would battle back to tie the score at 86 with 32 seconds left on the scoreboard, but Guers made two-straight free throws to lock down the win.
The Hawks held statistical advantages in rebounding (35-to-29), field goal percentage (52.3%-to-52.2%) and three-point baskets made (12-to-8). Bentley controlled the paint, scoring 42 points under the rim, but the Hawks capitalized on its second-chance opportunities by tallying 13 points in those scenarios.
Richmond led Bentley with 29 points and seven assists. Gilpin reached 18 points, hauling down nine of his squad's 29 rebounds on the afternoon.
Saint Anselm welcomes Bridgeport to campus on Tuesday, Dec. 19 for a 4:30 p.m. contest in Stoutenburgh Gym.