Led by a strong performance from graduate student guard J.C. Show, the Binghamton men’s basketball team cruised past Maine, securing the seventh seed in the upcoming America East (AE) tournament. The Bearcats (9-21, 5-10 AE) earned a strong road victory over the Black Bears (5-25, 3-12 AE) Saturday afternoon in Bangor, Maine.
“We talked about playing February basketball in the last couple of weeks,” said BU head coach Tommy Dempsey. “And we talked the last couple of days about playing March basketball. And I think what that looks like is ball movement — and guys being in sync — [Maine] did a nice job today on the offensive glass, that was our biggest Achilles’ heel, but other than that we did just about everything else right.”
The day saw a spectacular performance from Show, who hit 10 3-pointers, the highest single-game total in school history. Show converted 10 of 14 attempts, including a perfect 7-of-7 during the second half of play. Show hit his record-breaking ninth 3-pointer with just over a minute left of play, and then one more with 45 seconds remaining. He finished with a total of 30 points, and the team collectively drained 19 3-pointers, setting a new record.
“The shots were feeling good coming off my hand,” Show said. “They [his teammates] found me in open spots, and the timing was right, and that’s so important. When you’re trying to get your feet set, and get on balance and be ready to shoot the basketball. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my teammates and I wanna give them all the credit that they deserve.”
During the first half, the two teams battled hard to secure an early lead. The Bearcats shared the ball well in this period, allowing many players to score with some well-executed sets. Senior forward Caleb Stewart performed well in the period, scoring a total of 13 points, nine of which came from beyond the arc. Stewart finished the game with his fourth double-double of the season, recording 23 points and collecting 10 rebounds.
The Bearcats were able to stay ahead for the majority of the first 20 minutes, but the Black Bears gave a strong effort to keep the score close. At times, BU was up by a double-digit margin, yet as the half drew closer to its close, Maine rallied hard to trim the deficit to just four points.
“Getting to halftime with the lead, even though we didn’t play well at the end of the half, we got to halftime with the lead and [freshman guard] Sam [Sessoms] hadn’t scored a point,” Dempsey said. “So, I felt pretty good about that; it’s hard to hold him down for 40 minutes.”
At the start of the second half, Maine was still in the contest, and for the first several minutes it was anyone’s game. A layup from senior forward Ilija Stojiljkovic brought Maine to within three points of its opponent with 17:16 remaining. This was as close as the Black Bears came to regaining their lead from early in the first half. A steal from senior guard Everson Davis gave BU a fast break chance, which Sessoms was able to cash in on from in close. It was at this point that Binghamton began to pull away.
This victory marks BU’s third straight win on the road and completes a season sweep over the Black Bears.
Now locked into the seventh seed, the Bearcats will conclude their regular season this Tuesday night, March 5, hosting Albany. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the Events Center in Vestal, New York.