Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton)
Binghamton men's basketball (6-10, 3-0 AE) shot 64% in the second half to pull away from visiting UMBC (1-15, 0-3 AE) 83-75 Wednesday night in front of 4,246 at the Events Center. The win, BU's third straight, kept the Bearcats in first place in the America East as the league's only unbeaten team.
Sophomore guard Jimmy Gray scored a career-high 23 points and senior forward Mahamoud Jabbi produced the team's first double-double of the season with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Jabbi scored all 17 of his points in the second half and also chipped in three blocks and two steals in 39 minutes. Gray drained 5-of-8 three-pointers - a career high for threes. He added a career-best six assists and three steals. Junior center Kyrie Sutton added 13 points (all in second half) and eight boards for BU, which put four players in double figures.
The teams were deadlocked at 33-33 at intermission and UMBC led 42-41 with 15:48 remaining before BU went on a 14-3 run (spanning 3:36) that gave them a double-digit lead. Sutton sparked the run with two huge dunks and Gray and freshman guard Robert Mansell added three-pointers during the run - two of a season-high 13 treys the Bearcats made on the night.
When Jabbi grabbed an offensive board and converted a layup with 12:12 left, BU held a 55-45 lead. The Retrievers cut their deficit to five with 9:35 to play and kept it within range until Jabbi knocked down three three-pointers in a 1:25 span to make the score 71-58 with 3:35 left. The Bearcats hit 12-of-14 free throws in the final 1:29 to wrap it up.
Playing without leading scorer and first-team all-conference forward Greer Wright (ankle injury) for the second straight game, BU responded by shooting 51% - the third time in the last five games they have eclipsed the 50% plateau.
Mansell scored 10 points in 19 minutes, and sophomore forward Taylor Johnston and senior forward Moussa Camara added eight points apiece.
"It was a tale of two halves tonight," head coach Mark Macon said. "In the first half they controlled the tempo. In the second half we picked it up defensively and pushed the ball and got some easy baskets, which turned the tide. Certain guys have stepped up and that's a good thing. Jimmy (Gray) played a good floor game for us and shot better tonight. Mahamoud's intensity and energy helped pick us up in the second half."
The Retrievers actually made more field goals than BU (28 to 26) but suffered the program's eighth loss in nine all-time games at the Events Center.
Jabbi and UMBC guard Chris De La Rosa (career-high 31 pts.) were named the America East Players of the Game, sponsored by Security Mutual Life.