The Bearcats have finally hit a wall they have not been able to break through.
The Binghamton University men’s basketball team recently returned home from a four-game road trip against America East Conference opponents bruised and banged up both physically and emotionally. On Feb. 6, the Bearcats lost to the Maine Black Bears (17-9, 9-4 AE) by a 61-49 score. The next week, the Bearcats traveled to New Hampshire to take on the UNH Wildcats (10-15, 5-9 AE). For the first time in three seasons, the Bearcats were not able to handle the Wildcats and lost the game 67-60.
The tail end of the Bearcats’ road trip did not prove to be any easier on the squad. Amidst the release of a lengthy audit report, which detailed what the basketball program has done wrong over the past few years, the team faced off against elite conference teams Stony Brook (19-7, 11-2 AE) and Boston University (15-12, 10-5 AE). The audit report garnered negative media attention and seemed to add to the stress that the team was facing due to its lengthy and unsuccessful road trip.
The Stony Brook Seawolves, who currently sit atop the America East Conference standings, could not hold off the Bearcats when Stony Brook visited the Events Center earlier this season on Jan. 12. However, one month later on Feb. 13, the Seawolves’ home court seemed to work wonders for the team as they were able to defeat the visiting Bearcats 81-61. The lopsided victory came alongside a career night for the Seawolves’ talented junior Muhammad El-Amin. The swingman scored 31 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the field. El-Amin also shot a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line.
As far as individual efforts go, El-Amin’s impressive line was matched by Binghamton’s star junior swingman Greer Wright. The transfer scored 28 points on 7-of-15 shooting, converted on 12 of 14 free-throw attempts, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out four assists. Wright got help from junior swingman Moussa Camara, who scored 18 points. However, only three other Bearcats scored in the game for a combined total of 15 points. The Bearcats continued their struggles and the Seawolves remained atop the conference rankings.
Next up for the deflated Bearcats squad was the Boston University Terriers, a team that Binghamton has struggled against over the years. Earlier this season, the “other BU” had defeated Binghamton 63-55 in Binghamton. Last Wednesday, the Bearcats had one of their worst losses of recent memory when they managed to score only 51 points, compared to 93 points scored by Boston. The loss was the Bearcats’ fourth in a row and dropped their conference record to 6-7.
The Terriers were led by senior guard Carlos Strong, who scored 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting, and junior swingman John Holland, who scored 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Forward Jake O’Brien and guard Tyler Morris also scored in double figures for the Terriers.
The Bearcats’ players struggled to stand out in the game. As a team, Binghamton shot just 30.8 percent from the field. The team’s lone double-digit scorer was Camara, who has consistently been a good source of points for Binghamton. Camara scored 12 points in the game, converting on 2 of 9 field goal attempts. One bright spot for the Bearcats is that sophomore big man Kyrie Sutton, who had fallen out of the rotation for the Bearcats, scored nine points and pulled down six rebounds in just six minutes of action.
The Bearcats showed their frustration in the game when junior guard Chretien Lukusa and Wright received technical fouls. Two technical fouls were also awarded to Boston University in the game.
Multiple calls and visits to Macon went unanswered all day Thursday.
The Bearcats will need all of the home support they can get to dig themselves out of their current slump this Sunday as the team is scheduled to host the UMBC Retrievers at 2 p.m. at the Events Center.