West Hartford, CT (WBNG Binghamton) Sophomore guard Jordan Reed poured in a career-high 33 points and freshman guard Yosef Yacob forced overtime with a buzzer-beating three but host Hartford (15-15, 9-6 AE) prevailed in overtime over Binghamton (7-21, 4-11 AE) 89-83 Thursday night at Chase Family Arena.
The Bearcats dug out of a 15-point second-half hole to get to the five-minute extra session but there, the hosts made 4-of-4 shots, including a pair of three-pointers to hold off Binghamton, which was seeking its fourth win in the last five games.
“It was a hell of a fight by our kids … I was very proud of them and the way they fought back,” head coach Tommy Dempsey said. “It was a well-played game by both teams and that second half was an entertaining NCAA basketball game. We knew Hartford was playing really well coming in and that we would need our best effort to win. Unfortunately we didn’t pull it out but there were a lot of positives. We played very, very hard. It seems like every game has come down to the wire for us lately and that should give us confidence heading into the tournament.”
Reed was spectacular, scoring 29 of his points after intermission, including 17 in a 5:44 span when BU was making its run. His 33-point scoring performance was the highest of any America East player this season (conference play) and surpassed his previous career-high of 29 points, set against Maine last February. He drilled two three-pointers in a 49-second span late in the game, the second of which gave BU a 69-67 lead with 1:58 left. Reed then made 2-of-2 free throws with 44 seconds left to give the Bearcats their final lead, 69-67. A Hartford layup with 0:17 remaining and two free throws with 5.3 seconds left gave the Hawks a 72-69 lead, setting the stage for Yacob’s big shot. Yacob, who misfired on a 3-bid with 6.5 seconds left and hadn’t hit a three all game, delivered from the top of the key at the buzzer.
“We drew up the play for Yosef … we know he’s a big-shot maker,” Dempsey said of the final possession.
But Hartford scored the first five points of overtime and hit a back-breaking three with 22 seconds left. Reed scored the last two of his 33 points with 13 seconds remaining but the Hawks sank 4-of-4 free throws in the final 11.9 seconds to seal it.
Reed hit 10-of-19 from the field and was 11-of-11 from the line. He added 13 rebounds for his conference-leading ninth double-double of the season. His work on the glass also put him over the 500-mark for career rebounds (505) only halfway through his collegiate career.
“Jordan had an incredible game,” Dempsey said. “Watching him battle Nwakamma (19 pts., 12 rebs.) on both ends of the floor for most of the game ... you were watching two of the best players in the league go at it and play at a very high level tonight.”
Senior center Roland Brown tied his career-high with 17 points (7-of-9 FG) and freshman guard Marlon Beck II and senior guard Rayner Moquete added nine points apiece.
The Bearcats scored 52 points in the second half (55% FG) but Hartford was even more efficient throughout, shooting 59 percent for the game. The Hawks made 11 threes, including the pair in overtime.
Hartford closed out the first half on a 21-7 run after BU had opened strong. Brown tallied eight points (4-of-5 FG) in the first half but after a three-pointer from Moquete gave the Bearcats a 13-7 lead with 8:40 left in the half, the Hawks went on a 12-0 run, fueled by two threes and two layups. Six of the first seven fouls were called on BU, which also was slowed by three offensive calls. A Brown hook shot temporarily halted the run and a three from sophomore guard Karon Waller trimmed BU’s deficit to 19-18 with 4:26 left. But Hartford ended the half on a 9-2 run to take a 28-20 lead into intermission. The Hawks shot 55 percent in the period.
Binghamton returns home to host Vermont in the regular-season finale on Sunday. The Senior Day game with the first-place Catamounts tips at 2 p.m. at the Events Center.
(Courtesy: Binghamton University Athletics)
(Video: Courtesy of Hartford Athletics)