Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Freshman guard Jordan Reed keyed a furious second half rally but visiting Cornell held off Binghamton men’s basketball 79-77 Sunday afternoon.
In front of a season-high 3,673 fans, BU hit its season-high in scoring and nearly overcame a 22-point deficit in the second half, thanks to 70 percent shooting.
Reed notched his second straight double-double with game-highs of 23 points and 14 rebounds and the Bearcats made their final eight three-point attempts to delay the outcome until the final 10 seconds.
Clinging to a 78-75 lead with 15 seconds left and the shock clock winding down, the Big Red launched a three-point attempt that caromed hard off the back of the iron and into the hands of forward Eitan Chemerinski.
The pivotal offensive rebound set up Cornell at the foul line and guard Galal Cancer sank 1-of-2 from the line. A last-second jumper from junior guard Rayner Moquete ended the scoring.
“Overall I’m proud of the way we played,” head coach Tommy Dempsey said. “We needed a stop on the last possession and got it ... but we didn’t get the rebound. We’ve been struggling and early in that second half we were in position to be blown out on our home court ... so our backs were against the wall. We can take pride in what we accomplished over the final 10-12 minutes. We made it a very exciting game and I think we got into a rhythm but just ran out of time at the end.”
Reed, whose seven double-doubles are the most of any guard in the entire country, netted 15 of his points after halftime. His three from the top of the key with 50 seconds left drew BU to within three, 78-75, setting the stage for the final two possessions. Reed made 4-of-5 shots in the second half, including both three-point attempts. He leads the entire America East in rebounding (10.3) and ranks third in scoring (17.3).
Cornell, which led 41-26 at intermission, held a 55-33 cushion with 14:33 remaining. The Big Red then led 62-43 with 10:57 left before BU embarked on a 21-11 run that featured five three-pointers - including two apiece from Moquete and senior forward Taylor Johnston. In the final 14+ minutes, the Bearcats made all eight three-point attempts and when Moquete drilled his with 6:04 left, BU was within single digits, 73-64. After Cornell pushed its lead back to 11, Binghamton closed the game on a 12-3 run that stirred the big crowd into a frenzy. Moquete added a pair of free throws with 2:30 left and Reed drove the lane for a tough jumper with 1:25 remaining that made the score 76-74.
The visitors opened the game with an 18-5 run as BU misfired on 9-of-10 to start. But the Bearcats shot 7-of-15 to end the half and then made 16-of-23 in the second half - the best shooting half of the season (70%).
“We had better ball movement and cutting in the second half,” Dempsey said. “Our passing was much better and that led to such a high shooting percentage.”
Binghamton made a season-best 11 three-pointers and put four players in double figures. In addition to Reed, Moquete wound up with a season-high 19 points - 14 of which came in the second half. Johnston drilled 4-of-7 threes to match his career high of 14 points. Senior guard Jimmy Gray hit 6-of-8 from the field en route to 14 points. Reed made 9-of-10 free throws and played the entire 40 minutes. He pulled down 10 defensive rebounds and added a block and steal.
Cornell received 18 points from Johnathan Gray and also hit 11 shots from beyond the arc.
The Bearcats head to Hartford on New Year’s Day in preparation for their America East opener against the Hawks on January 2.