Men’s basketball’s highest and lowest moments of 2013-14

The Binghamton men’s basketball team played its last game of the 2013-14 season more than two months ago, but does it matter? It’s only fitting that the last sports piece I write for Pipe Dream is about basketball. Without further ado: Binghamton’s highest and lowest moments of 2013-14.

Lowest No. 5: Lowell brings the brooms

Binghamton had lost six straight games entering its Feb. 1 visit to UMass Lowell. With a 71-59 setback against the River Hawks fresh in their minds, the Bearcats spurted out to a 35-22 halftime lead.

But Binghamton couldn’t stop senior guard Akeem Williams in the second half, and sophomore guard Jordan Reed scored just two points in the final 17 minutes. UMass Lowell, which made its Division I debut in 2013-14, doubled up the Bearcats, 40-20, in the second half to earn a 62-55 win.

At that point, the Bearcats seemed to have hit rock bottom. Three straight discouraging defeats at the hands of Vermont, UMBC and UMass Lowell transferred recent encouraging losses to Hartford and Albany into the long-term memory banks.

Highest No. 5: Stony Brook upset bid

A totally different Bearcats squad — and Jordan Reed — showed up at the Events Center just three days after the UMass Lowell debacle.

With ESPN3’s cameras rolling and a packed student section watching, Binghamton took the reigning regular-season champions to the wire. The Bearcats led by one with 1:45 remaining, but Stony Brook freshman guard Ahmad Walker’s second and-one and sophomore forward Jameel Warney’s clutch eight-footer spoiled Binghamton’s upset bid.

Reed finished with 23 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks. Nobody knew it yet, but Reed had just embarked on a seven-game stretch in which he would average 21 points, 12.7 rebounds and 2.6 steals.

Lowest No. 4: Stony Brook pt. 1

Just three weeks earlier, Stony Brook embarrassed Binghamton on Long Island. The Bearcats hung tight with the Seawolves through the first 12 minutes, but Stony Brook closed the half on a 20-5 run.

Tommy Dempsey benched Reed after nine lackluster minutes, and Stony Brook cruised to a 67-47 rout.

Highest No. 4: Reed at the Dome

Syracuse manhandled Binghamton with its full-court pressure en route to a 93-65 win on Dec. 7, but Jordan Reed gained the respect of the Orange with an efficiently productive performance.

Reed scored 26 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and 13-of-14 from the line. He grabbed seven rebounds as well, and posted the second highest offensive rating (147) of his sophomore season.

Lowest No. 3: Sunk by Navy

“I’m struggling for words right now. I was shocked by the way we played today. We were uninspired. I can’t put my finger on it.”

That was Dempsey’s opening statement after Navy dominated Binghamton on Nov. 16. The Bearcats came out flat, falling to a very beatable opponent by 18 at home. The loss came as a discouraging setback on the heels of the most inspiring comeback victory of the Dempsey era.

Highest No. 3: Beck’s clutch moment

Seeking to string together two wins for the first time in 2013-14, the Bearcats went back and forth with New Hampshire to the wire on Feb. 12. Binghamton trailed by three points in the waning seconds, but freshman guard Marlon Beck II drew a foul on a long-range shot. He buried all three free throws and nailed a clutch 3-pointer in overtime to lead Binghamton to a 72-71 win.

Lowest No. 2: Raiders of the 3-point arc

Colgate put on the most impressive shooting display I’ve ever seen at the Events Center. The Raiders seemingly couldn’t miss from beyond the arc, as eight players combined to shoot 15 for 24 from 3-point territory. Even Ethan Jacobs, a 6-foot-11, 235-pound center, converted four of his five attempts.

The result: Colgate 93, Binghamton 64.

Colgate would finish its season with a 13-18 record.

Highest No. 2: Madray’s debut

We had all heard the hype surrounding the 6-foot-9 freshman forward Nick Madray in the months between his commitment to Binghamton and his debut. He proved in his first collegiate game why Syracuse pursued him on the recruiting trail.

In 27 minutes against Loyola Md. on Nov. 8, Madray scored 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting. He nailed three 3-pointers, as well, as Binghamton nearly defeated the Greyhounds.

Lowest No. 1: Hartford beatdown

The Bearcats were in the midst of their best stretch of the Dempsey era. Three wins in seven games, the regular-season finale an overtime loss to first-place Vermont.

Ten days before the America East tournament, Binghamton overcame a 15-point deficit against Hartford before falling in overtime. There would be no such comeback in the conference quarterfinals on March 8. The Hawks dominated from start to finish, shocking a Bearcats team that expected at worst a close loss.

Highest No. 1: Cornell comeback

Dempsey walked towards the media after Binghamton’s 89-79 win over Cornell on Nov. 13, winked at us and said, “Piece of cake.” We all laughed because just moments earlier the Bearcats were on the verge of a blowout loss.

Cornell led, 61-42, with 12:21 left. The Bearcats dominated the rest of the way, converting 12 of their 17 field goal attempts and 16 of their 19 foul shots. They would finish the half with 59 points.

Beck scored a career-high 27 points, while Reed (25) and Madray (23) also eclipsed the 20-point mark. No other trio of Bearcats had ever scored 20 or more points in the same game since the program joined Division I in 2001-02.