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Bentil's 25 not enough as Sanford defeats St. Andrew's, 66-45

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HOCKESSIN – Sanford and St. Andrew's were neck-and-neck throughout the first quarter and into the second of Tuesday's Independent Conference matchup, with the visiting Saints taking a 17-16 lead on free throws by 6-8 senior center Ben Bentil. But top-ranked Sanford cranked it up after that, going ahead on a thunderous alley-oop dunk by Todd Hughes, and the host Warriors did not look back in a 66-45 victory.

Hughes was a force in the first half, in which he scored all 13 of his points, as Sanford improved its record to 6-2. He nailed three three-point shots, half of the Warriors' total from distance in the first two quarters.

Sanford led by just one after a quarter, 15-14, but the team clamped down on defense in the second to extend the lead to nine, 31-22, at the half. St. Andrew's struggled with the Sanford press throughout the final three quarters, and the lack of a veteran ball-handler was evident as the turnovers piled up. St. Andrew's managed just one field goal in the second quarter, a late layup by Bentil, and five free throws.

When the Saints were able to get the ball inside to Bentil, the results were positive. The Providence College recruit had 13 points in the first half and a game-high 25, including several dunks and putback layups. He didn't get much support from his teammates, however, with the exception of Evan Thomas, who added 11. All of Thomas' points came in the second half, when the Saints were playing catch-up.

Bentil brought St. Andrew's to within 41-35 midway through the third, but Sanford senior guard Anthony Mosley made sure they would get no closer. The University of Delaware commit scored six in the third and 11 in the fourth quarter en route to a team-high 21 points. Hughes and Eric Ayala had 13, while Mikey Dixon added 11.

Sanford stays home for a Thursday meeting with St. Elizabeth; tipoff is at 5 p.m. St. Andrew's fell to 1-5. The Saints welcome Wilmington Friends to their Middletown campus Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

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