Bentley freshman guard Jason Westrol called Thursday night's deafening and entertaining throng of 3,405 at the Dana Center "ridiculous, just unbelieveable."
Bentley AD Bob DeFelice said it was the college's biggest crowd for a basketball game since 7-foot-6 Manute Bol came in with Bridgeport in 1985. Longtime sports information director Dick Lipe mentioned a regional final in 1975.
What they all saw, including five busloads of black-shirted Bryant students, was the Bentley men rip off their 28th straight win, holding off pesky Bryant 85-74 in the Northeast-10 Conference semifinals in a game that was a sterling showcase for New England small college basketball.
On a night in which five Falcon players scored in double figures, Westrol matched his career-high with 16 points and handed out a team-high five assists and senior forward Jeff Holmes delivered a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Bentley (28-0), ranked second in Division 2 behind the nation's only other unbeaten team -- defending national champ Winona State -- will host the College of Saint Rose (21-8) in Saturday's conference final at 1. The Falcons are one win shy of tying Holy Cross's New England record of 29 straight wins set in 1950.
"It's different people on different nights, that's who we are," said Bentley coach Jay Lawson. "We sustained our poise down the stretch."
"Westrol had an outstanding game. He made some big shots down the stretch."
Bryant closed within six (77-71) with 3:20 left, but Bentley was 8-for-8 at the free-throw line to close it out.
"That is one heck of a team," said Bryant coach Max Good, who has lost three times to Bentley this winter.
"They've been dominating people. They have terrific passers and they are hard to guard. They are much quicker than they look."
-- Craig Larson
This blogger might want to review your comment before posting it.