The Binghamton University men’s basketball team had an opportunity to generate excitement for its fanbase on Saturday night, but the 4,203 fans in attendance witnessed one of the team’s most dismal performances of the season, a 63-45 loss to University of New Hampshire.
The Bearcats (3-17, 1-6 America East) never led, trailing by as many as 27 points.
“I thought that the night was set up for us to play well,” head coach Tommy Dempsey said. “We had a great atmosphere and that’s something that we’re going to have to learn over time — this was a night to perform and this was a night to step up and make plays and send everybody out of here happy.”
The Wildcats (5-14, 1-6 America East) opened with a 10-0 run and extended their lead to 23-7 on a layup by senior point guard Chandler Rhoads midway through the half. Binghamton answered with a 10-2 run, but three steals by Rhoads helped New Hampshire push its lead to 33-19 at the break.
Seven first-half turnovers by the Bearcats led to eight Wildcat points.
“Nobody’s defense is good against turnovers, and when you’re throwing it right to the guy in the other uniform … for a layup, nobody can defend that,” Dempsey said.
Binghamton scored just 11 points in the first 15 minutes of the second half while New Hampshire padded its cushion to 57-30.
“I felt like the game wasn’t completely over to me at some points, but then it drastically changed after some turnovers and guys getting second chances on New Hampshire so that started to wear and tear on us,” freshman guard Jordan Reed said.
Reed scored a game-high 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting and grabbed six rebounds. Junior forward Brian Freeman joined Reed as the only other Bearcat in double-figures with 11 points, seven rebounds and four blocks in 20 minutes of action.
“I’d love to see some consistency in that performance from Brian and maybe we will going forward,” Dempsey said. “Maybe this was a nice confidence boost for him.”
For the team, though, Saturday night’s performance certainly was not a confidence booster. The Bearcats couldn’t find the basket, missing all 12 three-point attempts and converting on just 15-of-28 foul shots. Just five of the team’s 15 field goals came off assists.
With the loss, Binghamton is now tied with New Hampshire for eighth place in the America East.
While students were home for winter break, the Bearcats found themselves mired in a losing skid that spanned 12 games. They suffered close losses to Cornell University and University of Hartford and were blown out by Stony Brook University, Boston University and the University of Vermont.
But senior guard Jimmy Gray buried a three-pointer with just 3.4 seconds left to beat the University of Maine 57-56 and snap the losing streak on Jan. 19. The Bearcats had trailed by 12 points in the second half, and Black Bear junior forward Alasdair Fraser nearly spoiled Binghamton’s comeback, laying in an offensive rebound with eight seconds left.
Binghamton is set to host University of Maryland, Baltimore County on Wednesday night. The Retrievers (4-16, 2-5 America East) sit in seventh place, but are coming off back-to-back close losses to Stony Brook and Boston, two of the league’s best teams. Junior forward and preseason all-conference pick Chase Plummer, who has underperformed for most of the season, went for 19 points and 11 rebounds against the Terriers. Plummer averaged 15 points in three games against Binghamton last year.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Events Center.