After squeezing out a 63-57 win over Loyola, the Binghamton men’s basketball extended its winning streak to three games after emerging victorious against Marist 82-59. Although the Red Foxes took an early lead, the Bearcats quickly recovered and began to pull away, going into halftime with a 14-point lead. In the second half, BU controlled the tempo and maintained its lead to secure a 23-point victory.
“It was a total team win,” said Binghamton head coach Levell Sanders. “I thought our guys came out and competed. I thought we did a really good job defensively. We didn’t let them beat us to the 50-50 balls. They didn’t out-hustle us. That’s how Marist plays, but I thought we did a good job of competing for 40 minutes.”
The game started with both teams trading baskets, with the Red Foxes (2-1) taking an early 9-6 lead. Then, Binghamton’s (3-2) offense started to get into a groove, gaining some momentum after sophomore guard Chris Walker drained a deep three-pointer to put BU ahead 14-11. The Bearcats capitalized off Marist’s fouls at several points early in the game as they grew their lead.
“We just try to punish teams for their mistakes,” Sanders said. “I think if we can play the game the right way in terms of just taking what the defense gives to us, taking what teams are doing and being able to adjust to it on the fly. I think we gave ourselves an opportunity to have some success.”
Three-point shooting was central to Binghamton’s offensive effort. Graduate student guard Dan Petcash made several key plays for BU. After receiving a long pass down the floor from Walker, Petcash put the ball through the net to make the score 22-13. Marist tried to counter with a long pass up the floor of its own, however, Petcash intercepted the pass. Petcash then capitalized, hitting a corner three-pointer. Not long after, Petcash made another shot from beyond the arc to give BU a 28-15 lead. Going into halftime, the Bearcats led the Red Foxes 38-24.
“It started with defense, whenever we can get stops we can push the ball in transition and then cause some confusion,” Sanders said. “And then we actually ran a couple things for [Petcash] and he got open and he made some shots. With us, it’s always going to start on the defensive end. I’m happy we were able to hold them to 59 points, under 60, which is something we always shoot for.”
At the start of the second half, Marist looked sharp, but the Bearcats continued to maintain their lead. Walker caught fire, hitting three consecutive three-pointers to put BU up 62-41. With just over two minutes left, BU went by 28 — its largest lead of the game — after freshman guard Max Sims converted on an and-one opportunity. Ultimately, the Red Foxes were unable to withstand BU’s offensive prowess. When the final buzzer sounded, Binghamton came away with an 82-59 win.
“We identified three things for us to become a better offensive team,” Sanders said. “Shooting from the three-point line, shooting at a high percentage from the free throw line and not turning the ball over. It’s still a work in progress, but if we can get the right guys taking good shots, I believe that we’ve got guys that can make shots consistently. Guys like [Petcash] and [Walker], we want those guys shooting because they’re really good shooters.”
Walker propelled the Bearcat offense, scoring 19 points and going five for seven from the three-point line. Right behind him was Petcash who put up 16 points. In addition, Binghamton’s defense held strong, holding the Red Foxes to just a 38.2 percent field goal percentage and a 26.3 percent three-point field goal percentage.
“On the offense, [Marist] plays a two-guard lineup,” Sanders said. “They set a lot of back screens and they usually get a lot of their baskets underneath and so we were switching that. We didn’t give them an opportunity to get those types of baskets. And then we kind of forced them to play kind of one-on-one against us. Our guys are really good at guarding one-on-one, so when we can figure out your actions we can not let you score off that.”
Binghamton will face off against Sacred Heart on Tuesday, Nov. 21. Tip-off is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the William H. Pitt Health and Convocation Center in Fairfield, Connecticut.