Filled to capacity on Wednesday night, the student section of the Events Center was eager to watch the Binghamton men’s basketball team win its fourth straight game. They went home bitterly disappointed as the Bearcats (12-11, 3-6 America East) were trounced by UMBC, 92-74.
“I thought it was more about UMBC and how well they played than anything we did or didn’t do,” said BU head coach Tommy Dempsey.
The game started out as a back-and-forth affair, as the lead changed eight times in the first 11 minutes. However, UMBC (15-7, 6-3 AE) pulled away late in the first, ending the half on a 25-12 run. The Retrievers held a 12-point lead going into halftime.
In the second half, the Bearcats fell even farther behind. UMBC opened up a 23-point lead with less than nine minutes into the half. From there, the Retrievers cruised to an 18-point victory.
“They came in, they clicked on all cylinders pretty much start to finish,” Dempsey said.
The Retrievers’ offense — the highest scoring in the AE — was lethal. Against Binghamton, it shot a 56.1 percent clip from the field. The Retrievers also tallied 20 assists along while shooting 44.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Senior guard Will Darley led the way for UMBC with 24 points. He shot 4-of-9 from 3-point range. Junior guard Jairus Lyles added 19 points of his own, adding to his league leading 20.7 points per game.
“They moved the ball at a great pace and [they] just have a lot of weapons,” Dempsey said. “They share the ball great and when they get opportunities they knock the shots down.”
Binghamton’s offense was no slouch either. BU shot over 50 percent from the field, scoring 74 points, its third-highest scoring game in conference play. Junior forward Willie Rodriguez had 19 points to lead the Bearcats.
However, the problem, which has been a theme thus far this season, was the performance on the defensive end. The team threw multiple defensive looks at UMBC, but nothing could disrupt the flow of the Retrievers’ offense.
“When we played zone, we couldn’t get stops, when we played man we couldn’t get stops,” Dempsey said. “Our kids were playing hard but [UMBC] really had it going tonight.”
A bright spot for BU on Wednesday was senior guard Marlon Beck. Late in the second half he picked the pocket of a UMBC player and laid it in on the other end. This gave Beck 11 points on the night and 1,000 on his career.
“It means a lot [to score 1,000 points], I definitely wish it could’ve came in a different way,” Beck said. “Over the last four years I just worked hard and gave almost everything to this program.”
Beck was then subbed out by Dempsey at the next stoppage and was serenaded with a standing ovation from the crowd.
“He’s been a rock for us,” Dempsey said of Beck. “I was happy he got [his 1,000th point] at home.”
With this loss, Binghamton now sits sixth in the conference with seven games remaining to make up ground on the leaders.
“The season’s not over, there’s a lot left to go,” Beck said.
BU is set to take on UMass Lowell on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. from the Costello Athletic Center in Lowell, Massachusetts.