After pulling off an upset win against Stony Brook on Sunday, the Binghamton men’s basketball team took care of business Wednesday night with a 21-point victory over Hartford.
Both squads came out of the gates stagnant and disinterested, with each team slowly trading buckets amounting in a combined 65-point first half. Despite a lethargic start, BU (11-11, 2-5 America East) defeated Hartford (6-16, 1-6 AE), 76-55.
For the Bearcats, the matchup with the Hawks appeared to be a much-needed win due to the lack of success Hartford has had thus far in the regular season. Prior to tipoff, Hartford had been outscored by an average of 16 points in the AE and had lost seven of its last eight games. In their previous matchup against New Hampshire, the Hawks were blown out, 81-56.
With a career-high 16 rebounds by sophomore center Thomas Bruce and an impressive nine-assist performance from sophomore guard Timmy Rose, the Bearcats seemed to be firing on all cylinders and corralling every rebound in the second half.
Three-point shooting, especially in the second half, powered BU to its second conference win of the season. The lights-out beyond the arc performance from senior guard Marlon Beck and company gave BU the spark it needed in order to capture the win. BU shot a stellar 80 percent from deep and an adequate 47.5 percent for the entire game.
“For me, I kinda feel like once I get to see one shot go in it gives me personal momentum,” Beck said. “I try to bring a lot of energy to every practice, every single game — day in and day out — and my teammates really feed off of that.”
The game not only featured a confidence-boosting win, but it also carried historic potential, as two players had the chance to surpass the 1,000-point milestone. Although neither junior forward Willie Rodriguez nor Beck was able to achieve this accolade, their performance Wednesday leaves them eight points and 15 points away, respectively.
If Rodriguez had made it to the 1,000-point mark this game he would have done so more quickly than any other Bearcat in the Division I era after just 75 games.
“He’s [Rodriguez] not worried about getting 1,000 tonight, he knows he’s going to get it,” said BU head coach Tommy Dempsey. “I don’t even think it was on his mind, I don’t think he was trying to get it.”
Despite their static start to conference play, Dempsey affirmed that the Bearcats will stay motivated going forward and will hope to carry the momentum from back-to-back wins into their upcoming games.
“This group has done an unbelievable job going about their business, win or lose even when we had a five-game skid, I never felt like we had a bad practice,” Dempsey said. “We were a bit embarrassed because we didn’t view ourselves as an 0-for-3, then an 0-for-4, then an 0-for-5 team, but I just told them that if we keep grinding, that stuff would work itself out.”
The Bearcats are set to continue AE play against Maine on Sunday. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. from Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine.