|Facing the defending Patriot League champions, Colgate, the Binghamton men’s basketball team trailed for much of the game. In what ended as an 82-74 loss, the Bearcats (4-5) kept the game close against a top regional opponent.
“We talked about it the last couple of days, that they were an NCAA tournament team with all of their guys back,” said BU head coach Tommy Dempsey. “We viewed it as a team that would have a chance to win our league. As you look toward league games in January, February, we viewed Colgate as a team that would be in the top tier for sure of our league.”
The Raiders (6-3) led for 85 percent of the game, and the Bearcats were forced to battle back.
“I was proud of our players,” Dempsey said. “I thought we did a lot of good things out there, came back, battled back. We played hard for 40 minutes.”
The Bearcats’ leading scorer on the season, sophomore guard Sam Sessoms, was held in check by the Raiders’ defense for the entire game. He scored just nine points, shooting 4-for-15 from the floor and 1-for-9 on 3-pointers.
“That’s gonna be the focus,” Dempsey said. “They’re gonna come in and they’re gonna design their defense around trying to make him have a tough night. I thought we did a good job sharing the ball. Other guys really got involved.”
With Sessoms taking a back seat in scoring, two Bearcats stepped up with strong performances. Most notably, senior forward Pierre Sarr scored a career-high 24 points, as well as 11 rebounds to complete his double-double. His previous career high was 16 points.
Three-pointers were a struggle for most of the team, but freshman guard Brenton Mills stepped up. He went 5-for-7 from beyond the arc as part of a 21-point effort, also a career high. Prior to the game, neither Mills nor Sarr had ever scored 20 points in a game.
“We’re not by any means a one-man show,” Dempsey said. “We have a really special point guard and we have a lot of guys around him and I think that was on display tonight.”
The first half ended with the Raiders holding a 40-31 lead, but the Bearcats closed the gap throughout much of the half, tying the game at 71 with a 3-pointer from Mills with just four minutes remaining. However, an 11-3 run closed out the game for the Raiders. Despite an 82-74 loss, the Bearcats competed from start to finish against one of the top mid-major programs in the region.
“We had a lot of guys contributing, and that’s what it takes,” Dempsey said. “You need a lot of guys that can make plays and this team has a lot of guys that can make plays. We still to need to continue to improve defensively.”
Wednesday’s game marked the second consecutive loss for the Bearcats. Last Tuesday, the team earned its fourth consecutive win against Division III Oneonta, but had its streak ended on Sunday by Loyola Maryland. Freshman forward George Tinsley led the Bearcats with 24 points in the 77-65 loss to the Greyhounds (5-4).
Next up for the Bearcats is a matchup against former America East member Boston University on Saturday, Dec. 7. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. from the Events Center in Vestal, New York.
Men’s basketball falls to defending Patriot League champions Colgate
Sarr scores career-high 24 points on 11-for-24 shooting in loss