Following a lackluster defeat at home at the hands of New Hampshire, the Binghamton men’s basketball team traveled to Hartford in an attempt to bounce back in a game against the Hawks. Though the Bearcats came close to taking a second-half lead on several occasions, they couldn’t get over the hump, and the Hawks extended their lead down the stretch for a comfortable 73-57 win over Binghamton (8-13, 2-6 America East).
“We kind of had an uneven performance,” said Binghamton head coach Tommy Dempsey. “We just didn’t have enough in the tank. We didn’t have enough guys that really had a good game tonight, in general. Obviously [freshman forward] George [Tinsley] gave us a hell of a game, but it just wasn’t meant to be. We just didn’t get enough done.”
Tinsley, who scored in double figures in BU’s two previous contests, exceeded his career high in points in the match at Hartford (12-10, 5-2 AE). Tinsley put up 25 points on 8-for-12 shooting and 6-for-10 from downtown, and he also collected six rebounds.
“Their game plan was to put two on [sophomore guard] Sam [Sessoms] on the ball screens, and that opened up a lot of pick-and-pops for [Tinsley],” Dempsey said. “He had his stroke going tonight; he gave us a pulse there in the second half.”
Though Tinsley acquired a high point total for himself, the team as a whole did not, scoring 57 points, its second-lowest in conference play this season. The first half was a low-scoring affair for both teams, but Hartford picked up its offensive pace in the second half, while BU largely did not.
After leading by six at the break, Hartford hit a few quick shots to go on a 10-2 run to open the second half, extending its lead to 14 points. Faced with this challenging onslaught of offense to start the half, the Bearcats did not go away, kept in the game mostly by Tinsley, who hit three 3-pointers to bring BU within five. Later in the half, freshman guard Brenton Mills added a contribution from downtown, and another 3-pointer from Tinsley brought the Bearcats within four with nine and a half minutes left.
“We got back in it,” Dempsey said. “It was a one-possession game midway through the second half, and then we broke down defensively, just really in one-on-one situations. We got driven to the basket a couple of times … They had us spread out and were driving the ball past us, and [graduate student forward Malik] Ellison was a handful in the second half.”
From there, the Hawks ended the game on a 27-15 run, with Ellison and freshman guard Moses Flowers contributing the bulk of the offense. The Bearcats could not find their way back into the game in the final minutes, ultimately dropping it. Sessoms was largely held in check, as he was double-teamed for much of the game. He scored nine points and turned the ball over six times.
“That’s what you’re going to see most nights, and you have to play well around it,” Dempsey said.
Counting this loss, the Bearcats have now lost their last six games against Hartford, and have dropped 16 of their last 18 games against the West Hartford, Connecticut team. BU’s last win over the Hawks came three years ago in January 2017, and Hartford now leads the all-time series 26-13.
BU will not participate in the AE’s next round of games this Saturday. The next time the Bearcats take to the court will be on Wednesday, Feb. 5 when they face Albany on the road. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. from SEFCU Arena in Albany, New York.