VESTAL, N.Y.—Freshman guard Jordan Reed‘s potential game-winning shot at the buzzer was partially blocked amid contact in the lane and visiting Mt. St. Mary’s (3-3) hung on for a 71-70 win over a spirited Binghamton (2-6) team Saturday afternoon at the Events Center.
The Bearcats shot 51 percent and led for much of the game before the Mountaineers hit just enough free throws to grab the road win.
Binghamton committed 21 turnovers - including a pair 13 seconds apart in the final 1:33 - which led to 28 Mt. St. Mary’s points. But after drilling a big three-pointer with 54 seconds left to push its lead to six, 69-63, the Mount missed four free throws in the final 37 seconds to keep BU alive. Reed drove to the rim for a layup with 40 seconds left and did it again with 28 seconds remaining to cut the margin to three, 70-67.
After Mt. St. Mary’s made 1-of-2 at the line, senior guard Jimmy Gray nailed a tough three-pointer from the right perimeter with 16 seconds left, bringing the Bearcats to within one, 71-70. After two visitor misses at the line with 12 seconds left, BU had the final possession with a chance to win. A Gray midcourt handoff to Reed was fumbled and with time winding down, Reed drove the lane for one final attempt. He drew contact and put up an off-balance jumper that was redirected as the horn sounded.
“Both teams stood toe to toe and it came down to the last possession,” head coach Tommy Dempsey said. “We did a terrific job of fighting and had the ball with a chance to win. I’m proud of our effort ... we kept coming at them for 40 minutes and that’s a good sign. We’re not deep and we struggled with foul trouble again today. But we’re starting to establish a culture that we play every night and expect to win. That’s been a real positive sign moving forward. We are starting to understand we have a chance to be a good team ... and it’s only December.”
Fouls played a key role in the game as the Bearcats lost starters Rayner Moquete and Roland Brown to foul-outs in the pivotal final minutes. Moquete, who made 3-of-4 shots for 11 points, was limited to 13 minutes and was whistled for his fifth with three minutes to play. Just 10 seconds later with the game knotted at 62, Brown was wide open to the right of the basket, drove the lane and drew contact. He was called for a charge and fifth foul, departing with nine points in 17 minutes of action.
Mt. St. Mary’s made a layup seven seconds later and never relinquished its lead. The Mount put five players in double figures and shot 54 percent in the second half to complete a rally from 14 points down.
Reed led BU with 17 points. Though quiet for much of the second half, Reed kept his team-high scoring average at 17.5 and chipped in four assists and two blocks in 39 minutes.
Senior forward Taylor Johnston scored nine of his 12 points in the second half, thanks to 4-of-6 three-point shooting. Johnston added six boards. Gray was BU’s fourth double-figure guy with 10 points and was all over the stat sheet with eight rebounds, six assists and four steals in 39 exhausting minutes.
The Bearcats came out on fire, hitting 8-of-10 to start and led 32-18 with 4:22 remaining in the first half. But Mt. St. Mary’s steadied itself and closed out the half on a 12-2 run to trail 34-30 at intermission. In the half, BU shot 55 percent but heavy Mount pressure resulted in four turnovers in the final 3:48 of the frame. Moquete scored eight points in six minutes of work before being sent to the bench with three fouls.
In the second half, Binghamton pushed its lead back up to eight, 47-39, with 15:41 to play before going a stretch of more than five minutes without a field goal. Reed snapped that string with a highlight-reel alley-oop dunk off a Gray feed. Two Gray free throws with 3:10 left gave BU its final lead, 62-60.
The game was tied nine times and had nine lead changes.
Former Binghamton High scholastic standout King Rice and his Monmouth team come to town for a Monday night tilt.