On Wednesday night, the Binghamton men’s basketball team traveled to Long Island to take on the Seawolves in an America East (AE) rematch. The Bearcats took a lead with 14 minutes left in the first half and did not look back as they took down Stony Brook with a final score of 77-61 to end a two-game skid.
“Anytime you can win on the road in our league it’s hard,” said Binghamton head coach Levell Sanders. “It’s a good feeling, especially after losing two in a row. We wanted to come out and right that and not lose three in a row.”
Both teams faced off against each other two weeks ago in Vestal where the game was more closely contested and the Bearcats (9-10, 6-4 AE) were a 3-pointer away from forcing the game into overtime. This time out was a different story as BU jumped ahead early, leading by as many as 16 points in the first half and holding the Seawolves (13-8, 5-3 AE) to just 29 first-half points and 61 points for the game.
“We played really well on the defensive end,” Sanders said. “To hold a really good offensive team like Stony Brook to 61 points is a testament to our guys.”
Binghamton showed a team-led defensive effort, holding Stony Brook to just 31.7 percent shooting from the field and 16 points in the paint for the game. The Bearcats also outrebounded the Seawolves 47-35, allowing the Bearcats to limit any second chance opportunities Stony Brook had with BU outscoring the hosts 12-4 in that category. Junior guards Dan Petcash and Jacob Falko contributed to the defensive effort, swiping two and three steals, respectively.
Falko’s contributions were not limited to his defense as he recorded game-highs in both points and assists. The junior shot 55 percent from the field, scoring 29 points while dishing out five assists. This scoring effort has moved Falko’s season average to 18.5 points per game in conference play, which is enough to place him at first in the AE. The junior is shooting an efficient 53.3 percent from the field, which is third in AE play.
“[Falko] is playing at a tremendous level right now,” Sanders said. “We need him to be a playmaker for us. He’s scoring the ball, but he also had five assists, so he’s sharing the ball with his teammates which is what we need him to do.”
With less than eight minutes to go in the game, the Seawolves began to stage a late comeback, diminishing BU’s lead to eight. The Bearcats responded with a 24-16 run to close out the game as the Stony Brook offense was unable to keep up with Binghamton.
Sophomore John McGriff was the only other Bearcat to reach double figures. The sophomore scored 13 points on 55.5 percent shooting in 21 minutes of playing time.
This win leaves Binghamton with a conference record of 6-4 putting them at third in the conference behind the undefeated Catamounts and Stony Brook. Though, Sanders said he isn’t focused on the playoffs at the moment with Maine next on BU’s slate.
“We can’t be satisfied with winning the game, let’s win two, let’s win three,” Sanders said. “Maine is our next opponent so we gotta focus on them and prepare for them.”
Binghamton is scheduled to face the Black Bears on Saturday, Feb. 5. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. at Dr. Bai Lee Court at the Events Center in Vestal, New York.