VESTAL, N.Y. -- Junior guard D.J. Rivera keyed a late 15-2 run with eight points in a 53-second span and Binghamton (11-7, 4-2 AE) rallied for a 66-59 win over Hartford (6-13, 2-3 AE) Monday night from the Events Center. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Bearcats and lifted them into first place in the America East.
Hartford led 42-29 with 11:49 to play before Binghamton used two waves of runs to outscore the visitors 32-9 and take over the game. The first was a 12-0 run in 3:42 that featured five points from Rivera and five more from junior guard Malik Alvin. Rivera's fast break layup cut BU's deficit to 42-41 with 8:07 left. Then after the Hawks drained a three-pointer to take a 49-46 lead with 4:59 left, BU rattled off the decisive 15-2 run. Junior guard Emanuel Mayben drilled a three-pointer with 4:23 left to give BU the lead for good, 51-49. Rivera then soared to throw down an Alvin alley-oop and made a free throw to complete a three-point play with 3:31 left. Rivera followed that up with a three-pointer on the next possession. Two Rivera free throws with 2:38 left pushed the margin to 61-51 and the Bearcats made five free throws in the final 1:21 to fend off the Hawks.
"We turned up our defense in the last 10 minutes and were fortunate to win," head coach Kevin Broadus said. "Hartford is a good ballclub. We made our defense into our offense in the second half and this win helps us get back on track. When we are focused, we are hard to beat. But when we aren't, we are easy to beat. Our guys stepped it up tonight."
Rivera, first in the conference and 19th in the nation in scoring (20.6 ppg.), led all scorers with 24 points. He scored 18 of his points in the second half and added six rebounds and two steals. Alvin scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half and Mayben netted all 10 of his points in the final frame. Alvin hit 5-of-9 from the field and chipped in five assists and a block. Mayben dished out six assists and recorded two steals. Senior forward Reggie Fuller added a game-high 10 rebounds and blocked four shots in the second half.
After a sluggish first half in which it shot 33% (8-of-24) and trailed 27-19 at the break, BU sharpened its execution in the second period, hitting 60% from the floor (15-of-25), including 5-of-6 from three-point range.