The Binghamton men’s basketball team stormed back in the second half to secure a 76-65 comeback victory against Colgate on Saturday. The Bearcats (5-4) extended their winning streak to four with the victory, and remain undefeated on their home court this season.
“Really solid win for us,” said BU head coach Tommy Dempsey. “We just hung with it, we grinded it out possession by possession on both ends, and eventually we were able to get back in the game, and once we got the lead we never looked back.”
Junior forward Thomas Bruce was once again the star of the show for Binghamton. Seventeen of his 26 points came in the second half, fueling the Bearcats’ offense. Bruce added 12 rebounds to his performance, earning his fifth double-double on the year to propel the Bearcats to their victory.
“We didn’t give up,” Bruce said after the game. “We raised our intensity and we rose to the challenge. It was definitely a good win for us.”
In the first half, the Bearcats’ offensive play was clean with solid ball movement, but the shots simply weren’t falling. The team’s field goal percentage was below 40 for much of the half, as Colgate’s defense allowed few uncontested shots. It was left to senior forward Willie Rodriguez to carry the offense on his shoulders, as he found a rhythm when no other Bearcat could. Rodriguez hit four shots from downtown in the half, scoring 12 of his 16 points in the period.
On the other end of the court, the Raiders’ offense was on fire. Colgate (3-4) shot 65 percent from the field in the first half, and 50 percent from beyond the arc. Freshman guard Jordan Burns led the charge, scoring 15 off the bench. Using this offensive flurry, the Raiders managed to open up a 13-point edge with three minutes remaining before halftime. The Bearcats were able to stick around, though, putting together a late 11-4 stretch before the conclusion off the half. Junior guard J.C. Show capped the run by hitting a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to pull the Bearcats within six at the break.
“I said to our kids at halftime, ‘Let’s let the end of that first half be the reason we win today,’” Dempsey said. “We were down 13, but we had a nice spurt at the end of the half to cut it to six. Instead of going into the locker room down double digits, it was only a six-point game with them having shot 65 percent. I thought we were right there.”
The first 10 minutes of the second half were evenly matched and consisted of low scoring. Colgate got into early foul trouble, while Binghamton’s shooting woes continued. Throughout, Colgate’s lead fluctuated little, and settled at 54-47 with just over nine minutes remaining in regulation.
It was in these final minutes that the Bearcats turned on the jets. The floor seemed to open up for Binghamton, and the team found the consistent shooting that had eluded them in the first 30 minutes. Junior guard Timmy Rose got things started with five quick points to cut the deficit down to two, while Bruce used his size to grab two consecutive offensive rebounds, which he turned into putbacks. A little later, Bruce slammed down a dunk on a nice feed from Rodriguez to give Binghamton its first lead since the first half. The Bearcats would increase the advantage to nine thanks to seven consecutive points by Show, which capped a 20-4 Bearcat run.
Over the course of the game, the Bearcats shared the ball nicely, racking up 17 assists. Three players — Bruce, Rodriguez and Show — finished in double figures, and the Bearcats turned the ball over only eight times. With the win over Colgate (3-4), the team is back over .500 for the first time since their season-opening win over Morgan State.
Following this victory, the Bearcats face a tougher test as they take on Army in the second game of their two-game homestand on Wednesday, Dec. 6. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the Events Center in Vestal, New York.