On Saturday, the Binghamton men’s basketball team hosted UAlbany in the second and final regular season America East (AE) conference matchup between the two. Before the matchup, the Bearcats were looking to move into second place with a win and improve their chances of hosting a home playoff game. After a back-and-forth game, BU stormed back in the last two minutes of regulation and forced overtime, eventually winning 80-66, outscoring the Great Danes 17-3 in OT.
“We keep climbing,” said senior guard Jacob Falko. “And [if we] end up into a top three seed we can get a playoff home game, which would be really awesome for the whole city [and] the school.”
Albany (6-21, 1-11 AE) got off to a hot start, going on a 10-2 run against BU (11-13, 7-4 AE). Falko responded, however, scoring six of the Bearcats’ first nine points, leading them to a 13-5 run and tied the game at 20. Both sides began trading baskets after this point, with four different Bearcats contributing to the scoring effort before halftime.
Binghamton ended the first half with two straight three-point shots from senior guard Dan Petcash and graduate student guard Christian Hinckson, respectively. Petcash led the Bearcats in scoring with 11 first half points and senior guard Armon Harried added six. In the first half, BU shot 5-6 from beyond the arc while managing four steals, entering the break with a 35-33 lead over the Great Danes.
“You never know when we are going to need you as a team to step in,” said Binghamton head coach Levell Sanders. “We have to do it by committee … I always talk to our guys about staying prepared. Even if you are not playing, you still have to put in your work and be ready.”
Binghamton came out in the second half led again by Falko, who scored five straight points two and half minutes in. It was back-and-forth until Petcash scored four straight points and BU took a five-point lead over Albany five and half minutes into the half. The Great Danes, however, overtook the hosts as they led by seven with just over four minutes left in regulation. Harried, Falko and senior forward Miles Gibson fought back to make the deficit one point. Albany hit a 3-pointer with a minute to go which kept it tight, but Gibson responded with a turnaround jumper to cut the deficit to two. Looking for a defensive stop and quick basket, Harried stole the ball and threw an outlet pass to Falko, who got fouled going up for a layup. Needing to make both free throws to tie the game, Falko converted on both to tie the game at 63 and force overtime.
“This is the second game in a row where we found ourselves in a position where we were down,” Sanders said. “We always want to depend on our defense … We needed to get stops and get out and run it.”
On BU’s first two possessions of the overtime period, Petcash and Falko made back-to-back threes, with Falko following it up with a floater as BU went on an 8-0 run. This extended into a 17-3 BU run that put Albany too far behind, allowing Binghamton to secure the win. Falko scored 20 points, with eight of them coming in overtime while Petcash added 20 points of his own, shooting 4-4 from three and adding 10 rebounds to earn his first double-double of the season.
Binghamton will look to build on its two-game win streak, continuing conference play at home against NJIT on Wednesday, Feb 15. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Dr. Bai Lee Court at the Events Center in Vestal, New York.