On Tuesday, the Binghamton men’s basketball team traveled to College Park, Maryland to take on UMD. Despite being down 44-23 in the first half, the Bearcats stuck with the Terrapins, only being outscored 32-29 in the second half. However, the visitors were ultimately defeated by the Terrapins 76-52.
“It’s disappointing because I didn’t expect us to play the way we did today,” said Binghamton head coach Levell Sanders. “It goes to show you the different levels of basketball between us and [Maryland]. I think it’s a game we leave with good takeaways, but it also shows us that we have to keep working, improving and getting better.”
Both BU (2-1) and Maryland (3-0) came into the game undefeated, winning their first two matchups. The Bearcats scraped out a three-point win against Marist last Saturday whereas UMD won both of its games by 20 or more points. The Bearcats struggled offensively as they shot just 34.4 percent from the field and the Terrapins were able to take full advantage, shooting 48.4 percent from the field.
“We work on finishing pretty much everyday,” Sanders said. “We just have to go out and make our baskets. I attribute [missed layups] to being off balance and being nervous.”
Maryland showed its scoring prowess early, jumping out to an 8-0 lead over Binghamton before junior guard John McGriff put the Bearcats on the board with a mid-range jumper. BU’s inability to defend the Terrapins’ presence in the paint led to a 23-6 run for the home team, as the hosts took a 31-8 lead with just under six minutes left in the first half.
McGriff and freshman guard Masud Stewart were the only two BU players who scored against the Terrapins in the first 18 minutes of action. Graduate student forward Miles Gibson then splashed in a three-ball for BU with two minutes left in the first half.
“We came out turning the ball over and missing layups, and I think that had to do with being nervous,” Sanders said. “It’s hard to work on that. You just have to go out there and be confident. We have to remember it’s a basketball game. It doesn’t really matter who you’re playing against. It’s still basketball.”
The Bearcats’ scoring woes continued into the second half while the Terrapins began the second half with an 18-8 scoring run. This increased Maryland’s lead to 31, as they doubled Binghamton’s point total with just 11 minutes to play. Despite the deficit, BU responded with a 9-5 run of its own — which included a jumper by senior guard Dan Petcash. The Bearcats finished the game on a 10-3 run, bringing the final score to 76-52 in favor of UMD.
McGriff led BU’s offense with 12 points, followed by Gibson and Petcash — who had seven and six points, respectively. In addition to this, the Bearcats shot a season-high 21 three-pointers, but only converted on four of them.
“That was the first game that we’ve taken that many threes,” Sanders said. “That had a lot to do with how Maryland played us. That’s not how we play. We want to attack and score in the paint, but they weren’t allowing us to score in the paint. That made us shoot more threes than we normally would. They didn’t shoot the lights out either. They had a lot of points in the paint, which is what we want to do, but they didn’t allow us to do it.”
Despite a lopsided loss against a quality Big Ten opponent, Sanders is confident that his team will be ready for its next game on Saturday.
“We just have to come out and play the way we play,” Sanders said. “We have to do much better defensively. I think we’ll come out ready to play, fired up and ready to go. We have to defend and share the ball on offense. As long as we do that, we’ll be okay.”
Binghamton will return home for a matchup against Sacred Heart on Saturday, Nov. 19. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. at the Dr. Bai Lee court in Vestal, New York.