Despite a strong performance from sophomore guard Kai Moon, the Bearcats fell to Bucknell, 64-59. Moon scored a game-high and career-high 23 points while grabbing four rebounds and dishing five assists while going four-for-four from the stripe. Senior guard Imani Watkins went on to finish second in scoring for Binghamton (4-3) with 16 points, four boards and three dimes.
“Well, we played absolutely terrible and we were still in the game,” said BU head coach Linda Cimino. “It was a one-possession game with 37 seconds to go, and as bad as we played we were still in the game — we can’t make the same mistakes at the end of the game.”
The Bearcats bounced back from their 10-point loss to the Bison (5-3) last season, leading by eight points in the first quarter. Junior guard Kate Walker led the Bucknell scoring effort, finishing with 18 points.
BU stuck with the defending Patriot League champs. After Moon sank two clutch free throws, the Bearcats were within two points, trailing 61-59 with 37 seconds left in the game.
“If we just got one stop and scored, we would have gone to overtime, and it’s those plays at the end of the game that we have to execute better,” Cimino said. “We also need better scoring from our inside, [Senior center Alyssa James] can’t go three-for-13 and think that we’re going to win a basketball game.”
The Bison would prove to outlast Binghamton, as Walker scored a quick and-one after sophomore forward Karlee Krchnavi was called for a foul after contesting the layup in the paint. The score would remain at 64-59 for the remainder of the contest.
James struggled from the field, finishing three-for-13, but grabbed 12 boards, swiped three steals and blocked four Bison shots. Fortunately for BU, James stayed off foul trouble, logging 36 minutes played.
“It felt like in the third quarter we went six minutes without scoring,” Cimino said. “So we have to figure this out, and this is why you play tough games, to figure out lineups in certain situations when you need to score, when you need a stop and that’s what we’re doing — challenging ourselves.”
The Binghamton bench was seriously overpowered as it was outscored, 22-2. Sophomore guard Carly Boland had trouble finding the net. Despite going zero-for-three from the field, Boland still contributed in multiple facets, finishing with five rebounds, two assists and three blocks, two of which came in the fourth quarter.
“We had two people scoring for us tonight,” Cimino said. “We need at least four players in double digits to win a basketball game.”
Redshirt junior guard Jasmine Sina appeared to return to form from behind the arc, sinking three 3-point shots. Those three field goals accounted for all nine of Sina’s points. Additionally, the experienced guard tallied two steals, two assists and a rebound.
In terms of all-time series, the Bison captured their eighth victory against Binghamton Wednesday night. Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell has completely turned around Bucknell’s program after inheriting a 5-25 team, going 102-56 in his five years at Bucknell. Last season, he gave the Bison their first tournament appearance since 2008.
Binghamton is looking forward to returning home following a four-game road trip that spanned 11 days. The Bearcats will be back on the hardwood this Saturday to face a Yale team that they lost to, 57-48, last season.
“Playing at home is always great and our crowd keeps us in the game,” Cimino said. “The reason we beat UPenn was because of our crowd support and they give us that extra motivation, so it’ll be great to play a doubleheader in the Events Center.”
Tipoff is scheduled for noon on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Events Center in Vestal, New York.