VESTAL (WBNG BINGHAMTON) Senior guard Rayner Moquete scored 12 second-half points, including three clutch free throws with 32 seconds remaining, and Binghamton men’s basketball (3-9) posted a 67-62 win over Bryant (7-7) Saturday afternoon at the Events Center.
In front of 3,463 fans, BU held off the visiting Bulldogs by converting 6-of-9 free throws in the final 32 seconds.
After missing the previous game with a hand injury, Moquete tallied all 12 of his season-high points in the decisive half and added eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Jordan Reed produced his fourth double-double of the season (17th career) with game-highs of 16 points and 11 rebounds. Reed hit 6-of-12 from the field, grabbed six offensive rebounds and added three steals. Freshman guard Marlon Beck II also recorded a double-double - his first collegiate - with 10 points and a season-high 10 assists. Beck added four steals and committed just one turnover in 37 minutes at the point.
The Bearcats held Bryant 12 points under its season scoring average and limited the nation’s 11th-ranked scorer, sharpshooter Dyami Starks to just six points - 16 under his season average. The Bulldogs, who trounced America East favorite Vermont by 23 points last month, entered the game ranked No. 85 (out of 351) in ESPN’s RPI.
“Today we showed glimpses of the team we can be,” head coach Tommy Dempsey said. “It was a solid, tough performance. We outrebounded a good rebounding team, we held one of the nation’s leading scorers (Starks) to six points and we were locked in. I thought we had good balance all day and even though our shooting numbers weren’t there (38% FG, 52% FT), we played winning basketball. I’m most proud of the way we guarded and the way were were focused on defending their best players. It wasn’t a special performance but we were grinding it out and that’s a welcomed sight.”
The game featured 14 lead changes and eight ties but it was the Bearcats who held steady down the stretch to snap a 15-game home losing streak dating back to early the 2012-13 season.
Binghamton led by five at the break and by as many as eight midway through the second half before Bryant used a 15-6 run to take its first lead of the final period, 52-51, with 6:38 left. But the Bearcats used a trio of three-point plays in the final 6:23 to forge ahead. Moquete provided two of those big possessions when he made a jumper and subsequent free throw with 6:23 left to put BU back ahead 54-52. After the Bulldogs tied it at 54-54, senior center Roland Brown took a nice feed from Beck and converted in the post to give BU a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Beck’s bucket and free throw with 3:26 left gave the Bearcats a 61-54 lead. Bryant scored the next six points to pull within one, 61-60, with 1:10 remaining. On the next possession, however, Moquete was fouled attempting a three-pointer from the wing and he calmly sank all three free throws with 32 seconds left. Beck, Reed and freshman Magnus Richards added one free throw apiece in the final 23 seconds to keep Bryant at bay.
Despite nursing a thin lineup with one starter (Yacob) and three regular contributors out with injuries, BU’s bench outscored Bryant 17-2 in the second half.
Brown wound up with nine points and three offensive boards in 13 minutes. He also took a key defensive charge with 4:39 left and the Bearcats clinging to a 56-54 lead. Freshman forward Nick Madray added nine points on 3-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. Madray nearly put in a dagger with 1:17 left when his three-pointer out of a timeout rattled in and out. Richards had eight boards for the second straight game and also offered five points and two steals. In his second consecutive start, sophomore guard Karon Waller chipped in six points and four rebounds.
Binghamton next faces Atlantic 10 member St. Joseph’s Tuesday afternoon in Philadelphia.
(Courtesy: Binghamton University Athletics)