Coming off a 70-69 defeat to Bryant this past Saturday, the Binghamton men’s basketball team suffered a 89-78 loss on Thursday night to UMBC. With BU’s shortcomings at the perimeter being exposed by the Retriever’s small lineup, BU spent much of the contest trying to cut into a double-digit UMBC lead. Despite a late comeback in the final minutes of the second half, the Bearcats were unable to pull out a win.

“We know [UMBC] can shoot the ball,” said Binghamton head coach Levell Sanders. “But when we give [the] guys opportunity to just raise up and take rhythm threes, you can’t give [those up to] this team. They’re the third highest scoring team in the league. I thought they were on pace to score a 100 points.”

After the Retrievers (8-18, 3-8 AE) kicked off the scoring, senior forward Tariq Balogun responded fo BU (11-13, 3-8 AE) by muscling his way around the rim to tie it at two. The offensive momentum for Binghamton continued after senior forward Nehemiah Benson swished in a corner three-pointer to go up 5-2. Both teams traded the lead from there, as Balogun got the rebound off a miss by graduate student guard Dan Petcash and put it back in the basket for two to make it 8-8. However, Bearcats soon suffered an offensive dry spell, as UMBC tightened its defense in the paint.

“If you’re not scoring the ball well, you got to take advantage of all your opportunities, and tonight we didn’t do that,” Sanders said. “I mean, we’re going down almost one-on-zero, one-on-one and we were missing layups.”

Senior guard Armon Harried reignited the BU offense who went on a one-man 7-0 run to tie things up at 17. While the Bearcats continued to play from behind UMBC, freshman forward Gavin Walsh kicked it inside to Benson for two before driving it in himself to cut the deficit to 27-21. The Bearcats continued to keep it close as Walsh ducked a double team and sunk in a layup to make it 30-26. Despite this, the Retrievers extended their lead as BU struggled offensively, shooting just 37.14 percent from the field in the first half. BU’s final two points of the half came from Benson in the paint as Binghamton entered the half down 46-35.

“We tried to combat what they were doing by going small because it’s hard to have [Balogun] out there when they have guards on the perimeter,” Sanders said. “So we just tried to adjust to what they were doing.”

Junior guard Tymu Chenery drove in for two inside to open up the second half scoring, before Harried slung a pass to Petcash in the paint who nailed a layup to cut UMBC’s lead down to nine at 51-42. However, Binghamton was unable to cut down the Retriever’s lead much further than that as UMBC continued to answer Binghamton’s baskets.

“We can’t put ourselves in those positions where we’re down by 17 points,” Sanders said. “We’re not a team that makes a ton of threes and can kind of get themselves back into the game that way.”

With just six and a half minutes to go, Harried dunked one in to make it 78-71, the narrowest UMBC advantage since the first period. The UMBC lead stayed within seven after some free throws, with Binghamton making some crucial stops in the paint to stay within striking distance. Balogun then put the Bearcats within six points after a layup, but it would not be enough as the Retrievers drained a pair free throws to secure an 89-78 victory.

“When you let a team get a big lead and you’re trying to come back you almost have to play perfect,” Sanders said. “And then [you’re within] seven or six, but they hit a three and then they go back up by nine and they go back up by 10.”

Harried led the way for the Bearcats with 19 points and six assists. In additon, Chenery contributed 16 points of his own to the losing effort. BU was hampered by a 22.7 percent shooting percentage from the three-point line in comparison to UMBC’s 50 percent three point field goal percentage in the game.

The Bearcats will hit the road on Saturday, Feb. 17 as they look to complete a regular season sweep over NJIT. Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. at the Joel & Diane Bloom Wellness and Events Center in Newark, New Jersey.