LOWELL, MA (WBNG BINGHAMTON) Akeem Williams scored a game-high 19 points, including a three-pointer with 56 seconds left to lead UMass Lowell (6-14, 5-4 America East) to a 62-55 win over visiting Binghamton men’s basketball (4-18, 1-8 AE) Saturday afternoon from the Costello Athletic Center.
The River Hawks opened the second half with a 19-2 run to erase a double-digit BU halftime lead and Lowell maintained a lead throughout the final nine minutes of the game. The Bearcats stayed within striking range in the closing minutes but couldn’t reclaim the lead. Down five, senior guard Rayner Moquete drilled a deep three with 1:21 left, bringing BU to within two, 53-51. But on the other end of the floor, Williams hit the dagger with his three-pointer. Lowell made four free throws in the final 18 seconds to seal the win.
“It was unfortunate we couldn’t sustain our momentum from the first half,” head coach Tommy Dempsey said. “Give Williams credit … he stepped up and took the game over in the second half. We got some life with the man-to-man defense but didn’t get 40 minutes of consistent play. We had significant scoring droughts, which has been our Achilles’ heel this season. ”
Sophomore guard Jordan Reed and freshman guard Yosef Yacob netted 14 points apiece and Moquete added nine points on 3-of-4 long-range shooting. Reed hit 6-for-11 from the floor and added six rebounds. Yacob hit three three-pointers and tallied three assists and three steals. Senior centers Roland Brown and Alex Ogundadegbe chipped in eight points apiece.
After shooting 54 percent in the first half (15-of-28 FG), BU slipped to 32 percent accuracy in the final 20 minutes and was doubled up on the scoreboard (40-20). A 2-for-10 shooting lapse to start the period opened the door for the River Hawks’ big run.
The Bearcats got off to a good start in the post as Brown scored back-to-back buckets to start the game and later in the half Ogundadegbe added six points in a 3:58 span. Lowell used four three-pointers, however, to take a 15-12 lead with 11:33 left in the period. That’s when BU took over, fueled by a pair of inside makes from Ogundadegbe. The Bearcats embarked on a 21-4 run that also featured two treys from Yacob in a 39-second span and four points from Reed. Then on the final possession of the half after a Lowell turnover, Yacob floated an alley-oop to Reed well above the rim and his flush capped a 23-7 run and gave BU a 35-22 lead at the break. The 35 points were the team’s highest first-half total since December 1 (36 vs. Colgate).
Binghamton returns home to host league-leading Stony Brook on Tuesday. The ESPN3 game features the Olum’s “Pack the House Day” promotion. Fans will be able to pick up free ticket coupons for the game at the Vestal and Johnson City Olum’s locations.
The Bearcats played the game without freshman forward Nick Madray, who is nursing an injury.
(Courtesy: Binghamton University)