Coming off a Wednesday game that saw the Binghamton men’s basketball team rally back for a 57-55 win over second-place Vermont, the Bearcats (5-25, 4-11 America East) couldn’t pose the same threat against third-place Stony Brook at Island Federal Credit Union Arena tonight.
Following up on an impressive win of their own — in which they dealt Albany its first conference loss of the season, 59-56, on Tuesday — the Seawolves (19-10, 10-4 AE) posted a 64-52 victory. That was behind a 22-point, six-rebound, three-assist and three-steal performance from redshirt freshman forward Roland Nyama, who poured in five 3-pointers in the second half alone. He also shot 80 percent from the field and 86 percent from beyond the arc.
“Nyama was the difference,” BU head coach Tommy Dempsey said. “He came out and gave them a super game with 22 points, which was well above his average [7.3 ppg].”
The Bearcats had kept pace with their hosts through the first period, entering the locker rooms down by just five, 32-27, after BU out-rebounded the nation’s eighth-ranked rebounding team, 20-15.
Come the second half, BU even narrowed the difference to three with a spinning layup from freshman forward Willie Rodriguez. But that was the closest the Bearcats would come the rest of the way.
Nyama suddenly lit up, hitting three consecutive treys over a two-minute span. In the process, the Frankfurt, Germany native jacked up Stony Brook’s lead to double-digits, 41-29. SBU freshman guard Deshaun Thrower added insult to injury when he finished a layup with 16:36 left on the clock to make it 43-29, completing an 11-1 run that set Stony Brook apart for good.
Behind freshman forward Romello Walker — who poured in 11 points in the second half — BU chipped the lead down to six, 45-39, with 12:41 remaining in the game. Walker went 3 for 3 from the field over a four-minute span, pouring in seven points before Rodriguez finished a layup to cap off the 10-2 run.
Then Nyama and SBU junior guard Carson Puriefoy hit back-to-back 3s to make it a 12-point game again, and the Seawolves eventually finished out with a 64-52 win.
Despite the scoring margin, the Bearcats shot rather well from the floor — 40 percent, compared to the Seawolves’ 41 percent. It was Stony Brook’s efficacy from deep that made the difference: BU converted just 4-of-17 attempts from 3-point range while Stony Brook hit 9-of-19.
By game’s end, BU still out-rebounded Stony Brook, 36-32. Rodriguez pulled down a game-high 11 boards to complement his 15 points en route to his third career double-double. Walker, sophomore guard Marlon Beck II and sophomore forward Magnus Richards each grabbed an additional five for BU.
“Our team played really hard,” Dempsey said. “We didn’t shoot the ball as well as Stony Brook did and they made some more 3s than us. But we competed really hard and we rebounded the ball great. Our pressure defense kept them out of rhythm and I thought we did a great job on [junior forward Jameel] Warney and Puriefoy.”
BU did effectively contain Warney and Puriefoy. Both shot under 37 percent from the field and were stifled below their season averages. Warney, who is averaging 15.7 points per game in 2014-15, scored just 11 points. Puriefoy, averaging 14 points per game, added just 13.
Keeping in mind that Puriefoy erupted for 27 points in BU and SBU’s last encounter, that’s not bad.
For BU, Walker drained a team-high 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field. Beck finished with eight points, freshman forward Bobby Ahearn added six, and Richards scored four.
Binghamton has just one game remaining on its regular-season slate, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 28 against UMBC. The game will serve as Binghamton’s Senior Day, and seniors Jabrille Williams, Chris Rice and Rob Mansell will be recognized before the game. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. at the Events Center.