With the scored tied at 70, the Binghamton men’s basketball team headed into overtime in its matchup against Boston University. The extra time allowed sophomore guard Sam Sessoms and senior guard Richard Caldwell, Jr. to score the Bearcats 14 points, including Sessoms’ record-breaking 40th point. In a thrilling finish, Binghamton outlasted the Terriers in overtime, winning 84-79.
Sessoms finished the game with a new Division I program record in points and field goals, converting 15 of the latter. Caldwell, Jr. scored two dunks in the overtime period en route to the first double-double of his collegiate career. Throughout the game, there were 12 ties and 15 lead changes.
“I’m happy for the team,” Sessoms said. “It was a great win, we needed it. [Coming up, there’s an] 11-day break I believe, 11, 12 days. Nobody wanted to lose and have to sit on [their] butt for that long. I think it was a great team win. We had a lot of players step up … I’m just happy for the team, a lot of guys stepped up and did their thing.”
The Terriers (3-7) were conference rivals of the Bearcats prior to leaving the America East (AE) for the Patriot League six years ago. They were led in the game by senior forward Max Mahoney, who scored 38 points in the game.
“They’re a well-respected program,” said Binghamton head coach Tommy Dempsey. “I’ve been coaching at this level for quite a long time now, and [they’ve] always been considered a really legitimate, major program, and that’s what we’re trying to be. And I thought going into it that we were right about on par with them this year. I thought it’d be a great game, but again, you have to beat teams that people respect if you’re gonna get people to respect your program. I think today was a game where we beat a team that people have a lot of respect for.”
During the first half, it seemed that the Bearcats were constantly playing a game of catch-up as they tried to stay in it against an opponent trying to pull away. Binghamton was down by eight points with just under five-and-a-half minutes left in the period when the team began to rally. A 3-pointer from freshman forward George Tinsley got the offense going. Then, Sessoms scored two consecutive buckets in the paint. As the clock was winding down, freshman guard Brenton Mills scored a deep 3-pointer to bring the Bearcats to within just two points of their opponent heading into halftime. The Bearcat offense carried its momentum into the second half, as Sessoms netted a steal and breakaway bucket inside to immediately tie the game at 33.
With under a minute left to play, the game was tied at 68. An inbound pass to Tinsley was all Sessoms needed to score inside, giving the Bearcats a two-point edge.
“It was kind of drawn up like that,” Tinsley said. “I knew that I was gonna have a chance to go one-on-one a little bit. The ball slipped, and that’s why I went under and up and just went with my left. I didn’t expect it to go in, I was getting ready to get the rebound, but it went in, so I’m happy about that.”
A bucket in the paint from Mahoney evened the score and sent the game to overtime. Capped off by a dunk by Caldwell, Jr., Sessoms and Caldwell, Jr. stepped up to score all 14 Binghamton points in overtime and lead the Bearcats to an 84-79 victory.
After a break for final exams, the Bearcats will face off against Youngstown State on Wednesday, Dec. 18. Tipoff is set for 7:45 p.m. from the Beeghly Center in Youngstown, Ohio.