Adorning the Colonial name to celebrate throwback night, the Binghamton men’s basketball team put its loss to Vermont in the rearview mirror and defeated in state-rivals UAlbany 69-57 to get back into the win column. After a back-and-forth first half, BU closed out the game in the second half, outscoring the Great Danes 50-20 in the paint while nabbing 17 more rebounds in the matchup.
“I thought at Albany they were just way more physical than we were,” said Binghamton head coach Levell Sanders. “So we just showed that a bunch. We saw that video of how they outplayed us, and we didn’t want that to happen again.”
Binghamton (11-11, 3-6 America East [AE]) looked to control the paint early into the contest, with senior guard Armon Harried driving in the layup over a Great Dane (11-13, 3-6 AE) before junior guard Tymu Chenery switched hands midair to float in a layup of his own to go up 5-2. Both teams began trading punches as UAlbany took the lead with a three-pointer, but senior forward Nehemiah Benson responded by putting back a Harried miss to make it 9-8 BU. The game would remain tight, as soon after, Chenery drove the rock all the way down court for two to make it an 11-11 ball game.
UAlbany then built a five-point advantage at 16-11, but a turnaround hook shot from Benson followed by a one-handed layup would quickly make it a one point game. Benson continued to spearhead Binghamton’s offense against the Great Danes, muscling in a layup at the rim and sinking the and-one opportunity to keep the Bearcats in it by one. BU would then push for the lead as Chenery hooked it in at the rim for two before getting another reverse layup to retake the lead at 24-22. Harried proceeded to build the lead out with a scoop and score in the paint, before Walsh drove in a layup to go up 28-22. Binghamton maintained its lead, with senior forward Tariq Balogun sinking a one-handed layup give BU a 35-32 advantage going into the half.
“I thought we were intentional about getting the ball inside,” Sanders said. “I thought we were intentional about when we did get it to go up and finish. We have to be committed to that. If you look at the other number, we’re two-for-13 from three. So if we’re not going to shoot the three well — which we’re not — we need to pound the ball, we need to get the ball inside and we need to score a lot of points in the paint.”
Balogun picked up where he left off to open the second period with a quick layup, before Benson tipped in another two points to make it 39-32. Binghamton proceeded to break the 40-point mark after graduate student guard Dan Petcash knocked down a mid-range jumper. The cushion for BU continued to build with Petcash finding a wide-open Chenery who slammed one in — followed up by a corner three-pointer courtesy of sophomore guard Chris Walker to go up 48-38.
Albany would get opportunities to cut down on Binghamton’s lead, but lock down coverage from the Bearcats’ defense on each level disrupted the Great Danes’ offensive flow. In the meantime, Harried drove in yet another layup followed up by Petcash sinking a step back layup of his own for two to make it a 52-44 game. Binghamton then went up by 58-44, after a layup by Petcash. Punctuated by an electric alley-oop from Balogun off a lob from Harried, Binghamton closed things out in front of Bearcat nation with a 69-57 win.
“When we played them at Albany, it wasn’t a pretty sight,” Harried said. “So we wanted to not allow that to happen and just come home and be the aggressor … So that had to take being physical and getting the rebounds and that’s what we did.”
Four Bearcats put up double-digit performances in the win. Leading the way was Chenery with 18 points off of 50 percent shooting from the field. Putting up a pair of 11-point and 10 rebound double-doubles were Harried and Petcash, while Benson contributed 13 points in the winning effort.
“[UAlbany] scored 100 and something points last game, so to be able to hold them in 50s is a really good job,” Sanders said. “We have to come on again, be intentional and be committed to whatever our game plan is.”
The Bearcats will continue its against Bryant this Saturday, Feb, 10. Tip off is set for 2 p.m. at the Dr. Bai Lee Court in the Events Center in Vestal, New York.