Orono, ME (WBNG Binghamton) Senior guard Jimmy Gray nailed a three-pointer from the left side with just two seconds remaining to give visiting Binghamton (3-16, 1-5 AE) a thrilling 57-56 win over Maine (7-11, 2-3 AE) in an America East game Saturday afternoon from Memorial Gymnasium.
The win - Binghamton’s first conference win of the season – snapped the program’s 26-game road losing streak that stretched back to the 2010-11 season. It also snapped the team’s 12-game losing streak and allowed BU to surpass its win total from last season.
The Black Bears had gone ahead 56-54 on an offensive rebound and lay-in from Alasdair Fraser with eight seconds left. Gray raced the ball down the floor and pulled up for his game-winner, which capped a stellar second half for the Bearcats, who shot 57 percent and held Maine to just 24 points on 33 percent shooting. A half-court Black Bears shot at the buzzer banked off the backboard and rim.
“The kids deserved this win,” head coach Tommy Dempsey said. “They have played so hard and kept grinding … and today we got it done. We kept the game close enough and were able to play at our pace and Jimmy made the big shot at the end. That’s a great moment for him (Gray) and our team.”
With senior guard Mike Horn creating havoc on the defensive end and Gray and freshman guard Jordan Reed clicking on the offensive end, BU rallied from a 12-point deficit in the game’s final 13 minutes. Down 44-32 with 12:25 left, BU embarked on a 16-3 run that featured points from five different players. When senior forward Javon Ralling converted a driving layup with 5:04 left, the Bearcats had their first lead of the game, 48-47.
Maine answered back, however, and the final five minutes included four lead changes and two ties.
Reed came alive in the second half and registered his eighth double-double of the season with game-highs of 20 points and 10 rebounds. He scored 16 of his points in the second half on 8-of-12 accuracy and drove the lane for three big buckets in the final 4:22.
Gray finished with 14 points and Horn was a menace to Maine’s guards with 34 minutes of 94-feet pressure. Binghamton’s 2-3 zone took hold in the second half and the Bearcats dealt Maine just its second home loss of the season.
The Bearcats benefited from some hard work inside by Ralling in the first half but committed some costly turnovers and dug themselves an 11-point halftime deficit. After Gray hit a three-pointer with 9:40 to play, BU trailed 14-13. But the Black Bears went on a 12-0 run that featured an alley-oop from Justin Edwards and two more inside buckets to stretch their lead to 26-13. The hosts turned 12 BU turnovers into 16 points and outscored Binghamton 18-8 to end the half.
The Bearcats return home and have a week off before hosting New Hampshire next Saturday at the Events Center.