Allowing an opponent to carry momentum into halftime has been a frequent occurrence for the Binghamton men’s basketball team in 2012-13, and Tuesday night’s game against Stony Brook served as yet another example.
The Seawolves (18-6, 9-2 America East) used a 9-2 spurt in the final 1:45 of the first half to take a 39-26 lead at the break, and the Bearcats (3-22, 1-11 AE) would not come any closer, falling 73-47 after trailing by as many as 34 points at Pritchard Gymnasium.
“We just took a couple of bad shots during that stretch,” Binghamton head coach Tommy Dempsey said. “They’re crucial [moments] of the game because instead of going into the second half in a dogfight you’re playing from behind.”
The two teams traded baskets for the first five minutes of the first half before Stony Brook used a 10-2 run to build a 19-12 lead at the 9:23 mark. From there, Binghamton would basically stay even, as two free throws by freshman guard Jordan Reed made it 30-24 with 2:26 left.
But then a turnover by junior forward Brian Freeman sparked the Seawolves’ spurt, which featured points from four different players.
Stony Brook forward and America East Rookie of the Year candidate Jameel Warney converted a layup just 13 seconds into the second half, and the Seawolves embarked on a 20-5 run to build a commanding 59-31 lead at the 11:34 mark. The gap eventually swelled to 71-37 before Binghamton closed the game on a 10-2 run.
For the second time this year, Stony Brook’s defense frustrated Reed, who finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds but also with five turnovers and a 30 percent mark from the floor.
Stony Brook senior forward Tommy Brenton, reputed as one of the conference’s stingiest defenders, guarded Reed during both contests.
“At times in this league, Jordan can overpower some guys, but Brenton can hold his ground and force him to shoot a lot of jump shots,” Dempsey said. “So I just think they have a nice matchup for him, and that’s just part of Brenton’s value.”
Binghamton senior forward Javon Ralling reached double figures for the second-straight game, scoring 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting. Senior guard Jimmy Gray also contributed 10 points.
With Maine set to visit the Events Center on Saturday night, the Bearcats have their sights set on a sweep of the Black Bears (10-15, 5-7 AE) — Gray buried a 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds left to lift Binghamton to a 57-56 win at Maine on Jan. 19.
The Black Bears, who had lost to Hartford and Albany in the two games leading up to the first matchup, beat the Great Danes (18-8, 7-5 AE) and the Hawks (14-11, 7-5 AE) in their last two games.
“We’re going to get a hungry team coming in here,” Dempsey said. “They had a tough loss to us at their place — they know that’s our only league win — so I’m sure they’re fired up to come in here and get some payback. We’re just going to have to match their energy.”
The Black Bears boast one of the league’s most imposing frontcourts, composed of junior Alasdair Fraser and senior Mike Allison, as well as the conference’s leading scorer, sophomore guard Justin Edwards.
Though Maine has struggled at times, Dempsey said Edwards and Fraser — two candidates to make the all-conference team — make the Black Bears a dangerous team as the America East tournament approaches.
Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.