The Binghamton men’s basketball team was neck and neck with former America East (AE) opponents Boston University for the lion’s share of Saturday afternoon’s matchup. Despite tying the game up at 60 with the Terriers with less than two minutes posted on the clock, the Bearcats couldn’t pull away and lost 68-63 after an eight-point run by Boston put BU out of reach.
“We put ourselves in a position to win,” said Binghamton head coach Levell Sanders. “We did a really good job of moving the ball, sharing the ball [and] playing together. We had multiple guys who hit double figures … It was a game I feel that we could’ve won, we just didn’t get enough plays to get the [win].”
Binghamton’s (2-5) only consolation after the run by Boston (7-3) was a final 3-pointer sunk at the buzzer by junior guard Hakon Hjalmarsson. The Bearcat tallied a team-high and career-high 18 points and went 4-6 from the three.
Hjalmarsson contributed eight points in the first half and kicked off the scoring for Binghamton after netting an early layup in the paint. Both teams traded throughout the half and fought even battles until the first 20 minutes of play ran dry. The teams were locked 27-27 with 22 seconds left until Hjalmarsson hit a successful 3-pointer to put the Bearcats up 30-27 heading into halftime.
“I was satisfied with our effort,” Sanders said. “[Boston University] is a really good team. They’ve had some big wins so far this season. I thought we battled. I thought we gave great effort.”
The Terriers opened the second half of play by taking their lead back with a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws in the first minute. Binghamton trailed from that point on, but were never out of contention. The Bearcats eventually made up the ground and drew the game 60-60. Their uphill climb was supported by Hjalmarsson and junior guards Tyler Bertram and Dan Petcash, who posted 14 and 11 points, respectively. Petcash, however, went down within the final 20 seconds of play and limped off the court.
“[Petcash] is a big part of our team, and we missed him in those few games that he was out,” Sanders said. “Today was the first game where he started, we were feeling good about him in terms of his condition. Unfortunately, he sprained his ankle, the same ankle. He’s gonna be out for some time … Sad for [Petcash] because he was out already for so long and he worked so hard to get back, and now he has the same ankle injury.”
Binghamton was effective during its possession of the ball, but Boston took the advantage on second-chance and fast-break points, scoring 12 versus the Bearcats’ two in each of the categories. The Terriers also accumulated much of its second-half score off of free throws alone. Binghamton only conceded one free throw in the first half which Boston missed. In the following 20 minutes of play, the hosts went 20-24 from the line.
The Bearcats won in their last encounter with the Terriers. The 84-79 overtime victory was spearheaded by former guard Sam Sessoms, who tallied a Division I era program-record 40 points in the game to account for nearly half of the total score.
Next up for Binghamton is a home matchup against Marist. The Bearcats lost both matches of their doubleheader to the Foxes last season.
“We had a solid nonconference schedule to prepare us for the league,” Sanders said. “Playing a game like today, we’ve got Marist coming up, we wanna play these kinds of teams to get [us] prepared for league play because some of these teams are comparable, maybe even better than the teams in our league.”
BU is set to host the Red Foxes on Wednesday, Dec. 8. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Dr. Bai Lee Court at the Events Center in Vestal, New York.