The Binghamton men’s basketball team’s season continued its downward spiral as the team dropped two games over the weekend and fell to a three-way tie in the bottom of the conference. Second-half scoring binges from both of the Bearcats’ opponents led to a 77-66 defeat at Stony Brook last Thursday followed by a 79-71 loss at home against UMass Lowell on Sunday.
The Bearcats have now lost five of their last six games, winning just one game in AE play.
Last Thursday’s game in eastern Long Island against the Seawolves (8-12, 3-3 America East) started well enough for the Bearcats (10-11, 1-5 AE). The defense was stingy on both ends, with Binghamton able to force some turnovers and missed shots. Neither team was able to break away from the other in the first few minutes, as they played each other to a 6-6 tie.
Things began to open up for BU toward the middle of the first half, as they went on an 11-3 run to take an eight-point lead. They managed to maintain the advantage until the dying minutes of the half, when Stony Brook was able to chip enough away to give themselves a one-point edge heading into the locker room. Senior forward Bobby Ahearn led the Bearcats with eight points.
It was in the second half that things began to fall apart for Binghamton. BU seemed like it would continue its solid play, with the offense sharing the ball and Ahearn continuing his offensive rhythm. Then, with around 10 minutes to go, Stony Brook broke its impasse. Spearheaded by junior guard Jaron Cornish, the Seawolves snapped off a 19-3 run to take a double-digit lead. By the time the stretch was over, only three minutes and change remained on the clock, sealing the victory for the Seawolves.
The Bearcats then returned home to face the UMass Lowell River Hawks (7-12, 1-5 AE) on Sunday, who entered the game winless in AE play. The Bearcats came flying out of the gate, opening up the game with a 13-3 advantage to start. Junior guard J.C. Show led the run, scoring all of Binghamton’s points during the stretch, including a straightaway 3-pointer from well behind the arc.
“My teammates did a great job of finding me in open space,” Show said. “I got free a little bit in transition and my teammates did a good job of finding me.”
The River Hawks were not to be denied forever, however, as senior guard Matt Harris put on a 3-point shooting show of his own. UMass Lowell tied the game in a matter of minutes, and then the match went back and forth, each team going back in front only for the other to do the same. The first half featured eight lead changes, but a late run from the River Hawks had Binghamton down five at halftime, a half during which junior forward Thomas Bruce was held scoreless.
UMass Lowell’s scoring prowess continued into the beginning of the second half as it extended its lead to 11 before Binghamton could score a single point. Seawolf redshirt junior guard Josh Gantz had the hot hand while Show began to cool off. Every time Binghamton managed to score a basket, it seemed like the River Hawks responded with one of their own, keeping Binghamton’s deficit at six points or higher for much of the second half.
“We had a hard time stopping them,” said BU head coach Tommy Dempsey. “They seemed to have a good flow against us, and they shot the ball really well.”
Late in the second half, the Bearcats managed to cut the River Hawks’ lead to five points, taking advantage of poor second-half free-throw shooting by UMass Lowell and an offensive push from Bruce. When they needed a stop, though, Harris sunk yet another 3-pointer, sinking Binghamton’s chances with it. Show went on to finish with 26 points, and Bruce with a career-high 19 rebounds.
“We’re not going to quit,” Show said. “We’re going to go back to work, and we’re going to work as hard as we can to get this one on Wednesday.”
The Bearcats are set to return to the court on Wednesday to take on UMBC. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the Retrievers Athletics Center in Baltimore, Maryland.