On Saturday, the Binghamton men’s basketball team concluded its 2020-21 season with a 77-60 loss to America East (AE) playoff opponents Hartford. The No. 4 Hawks moved on to the quarterfinals and the No. 9 Bearcats headed home.

This game proved to be the end of the Tommy Dempsey era for the Binghamton program, as multiple media outlets were reporting on Sunday night that Dempsey would not return to the team next season.

“Our guys didn’t come out with a great start, which hurt our confidence,” said Binghamton head coach Tommy Dempsey after the game. “We continued to battle throughout the game, but [Hartford was] the better team today.”

Right from tipoff on Saturday, the Bearcats (4-14, 4-10 AE) started the game on the wrong foot. Hartford (13-8, 8-6 AE) got out to a 12-4 start and continued to broaden the gap as the half progressed. The Hawks shot near 50 percent in the first half, and Binghamton’s lack of offensive production kept the Bearcats trailing. Binghamton hit just 10-26 field goals and 3-11 3-pointers in the first half.

“I’m proud of my group,” Dempsey said. “It’s not that we played bad, we just didn’t shoot the ball well.”

Binghamton started the second half trailing 34-24. In the opening minutes, the Bearcats continued to struggle on the offensive as the Hawks widened the gap with a 15-6 run. During that window, Hartford’s redshirt senior guard Austin Williams scored eight and continued to pester the Bearcats on offense, finishing the game with 29 points.

Despite the Bearcats narrowing the lead to nine points midway through the second half, they were unable to get any closer. Although Hartford only hit one-third of its shots from outside of the arc, Binghamton went 3-24 on 3-pointers in the second half. Without enough offensive production, the Bearcats fell by a 17-point deficit when the buzzer sounded.

“My guys have been resilient, we’re a real together group,” Dempsey said. “I love all of the guys and it’s tough when it comes to an end. We’ve persevered through a lot.”

Although sophomore guards Tyler Bertram and Dan Petcash scored 14 and 15 points respectively to help keep the Bearcats in the game, the lack of offensive consistency from their teammates plagued their attack. In total, Binghamton shot 23-67 on field goals and 6-35 on 3-pointers.

In addition to Binghamton’s problems in front of the basket, the team was unable to lock down the Hawks’ offense. Senior center Thomas Bruce left the game in the first half with an injury. He eventually returned, but only played 23 minutes in the game, recording one block and five rebounds.

Binghamton’s campaign began with a rocky start. The Bearcats started the season 1-12 with the remaining three wins coming in the final five matchups.

“I think [the season] was uneven for sure,” Dempsey said. “Part of that was the start. We had to put the team together and it was hard to do that during the [COVID-19] season. Bruce got hurt during the preseason, we had a couple of COVID-19 pauses so we didn’t get a lot of practice before we started playing games.”

Despite going 4-14 this season, the young Binghamton roster has eight sophomores, four of which started against Hartford and rank as four of the Bearcats’ top five scorers. Dempsey acknowledged the lack of results during the season.

“If this group stays together, we’ll be good,” Dempsey said. “We had so many new faces and so many young guys. Not having a real summer and fall together, we had to throw the group together in November and they gave us everything they had.”