The Binghamton men’s basketball team hosted Maine on Saturday afternoon for its penultimate regular season matchup, looking to break a two-game losing streak. BU looked to rebound from its first contest with the Black Bears, where it fell by 21 on the road. Despite a strong start in their second meeting, the Bearcats came up short, falling to the visitors 71-67 in overtime.
Binghamton (12-16, 8-7 America East [AE]) got the game’s scoring started after graduate student forward Miles Gibson made a jump shot. Gibson scored BU’s first seven points of the game. Maine (12-16, 6-9 AE) struggled on offense early on, calling a timeout after falling behind by seven points just four minutes into the matchup. The Bearcats continued to build on their early lead with contributions from senior guards Jacob Falko and Dan Petcash, junior guard Armon Harried as well as graduate student guard Christian Hinckson.
“We came out, we were moving the ball well, we made some shots, then we kind of relaxed,” said Binghamton head coach Levell Sanders. “I think we made some substitutions and then we kind of got out of whack a little bit offensively which affected us defensively.”
Maine struggled to contain the Binghamton offense on as the hosts jumped out to a 15-point lead with less than eight minutes left in the half. Despite going up by double-digit points early on, BU failed to maintain its lead as the offense began to stagnate. The Black Bears began to chip away at the Bearcats, closing out the frame on a 15-3 run, shifting the momentum and propelling them into just a one-possession deficit heading into the break. Binghamton’s late-period woes reduced its lead but kept it ahead 35-32 as the game entered the second half.
“I think the biggest difference was we couldn’t come up with a rebound when we needed it,” Sanders said. “We got stops … we just gotta box out and get the rebound.”
Coming out of the halftime break, both teams exchanged baskets early on as BU maintained a slight lead over the visitors. Although the Binghamton offense slowed down, an explosive scoring effort from Harried kept the hosts afloat. The junior scored 10 straight Bearcat points to put the hosts up 49-45. However, the visitors were able to keep pace as they managed to secure a three-point lead at the six-minute mark — the Black Bears took their first lead of the game during this time. The advantage would not last for long, however, as senior forward Taveion White slammed one in, sparking a brief turnaround. Not long after, Falko made a three-pointer to give BU its two-point lead back.
With 11 seconds in regulation, Hinckson was called for a foul, sending the opponents to the free throw line. The Maine player hit one of his two attempts and knotted the score at 59 a piece. Falko drew a foul with five seconds left and had a chance at the free throw line to win the game but failed to convert, sending the game to overtime.
At the start of overtime, Binghamton would get on the board first after Gibson hit a jump shot. The Bearcats, despite scoring first and taking a four point lead, were unable to maintain their lead as Maine closed the game on a 10-2 run to secure the victory 71-67. Despite playing well defensively, it was turnovers and fast break points that contributed to Binghamton’s loss. Eighteen of Maine’s 71 points came off of fast breaks and 14 points were generated from turnovers. BU’s defense racked up seven steals and six blocks, but Maine was still able to score consistently despite only shooting 35 percent from the field.
“We had way too many turnovers,” Sanders said. “We had 16 turnovers. You can’t be a good offensive team if you turn it over… There’s no defense for that.”
Binghamton will host UMBC in its final AE regular season matchup on Tuesday, Feb. 28 and have a chance to clinch a home playoff game with a victory. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Dr. Bai Lee Court at the Events Center in Vestal, New York.