Heartbreaker: Bearcats can't finish off Hartford

By wbng sports

January 24, 2014 Updated Jan 24, 2014 at 12:47 AM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Reserve guard Taylor Dyson snuck in for a short putback jumper with 3.9 seconds left to lift visiting Hartford (10-11, 4-2 America East) to a 56-54 win over Binghamton (4-15, 1-5 AE) Thursday night from the Events Center.

With the score knotted at 54-54, Hartford sharpshooter and the game’s leading scorer Wes Cole (24 pts.) missed long on a three-point attempt with just under six seconds left, but Dyson got position on the back side, grabbed the rebound and dropped in the game-winner.

Freshman guard Marlon Beck‘s running three-point attempt was off the mark at the buzzer. The Bearcats had their opportunity to claim the lead in the final minute but after two timeouts and the shot clock winding down, they had to settle for a contested, deep three-bid from sophomore guard Karon Waller with 31 seconds left. Hartford corralled the rebound and after two timeouts and two shots, the Hawks had the road win.

“That’s a tough one to swallow,” head coach Tommy Dempsey said. “We played pretty well for the most part ... we forced 15 turnovers and were able to be disruptive with our traps. The guys played really hard and it would’ve been nice to come out with a win. We need to learn how to win these games. But we’re right there now ... in the last two games against the third- and fourth-best teams in the league ... we had the ball with a chance to win the game. So we’re closing the gap. We don’t feel good about where we are record-wise but development-wise, we’re going in the right direction.”

The Bearcats led for much of the game before a second-half dry spell on the offensive end allowed the Hawks to pull ahead. Binghamton made only two field goals in a 10:57 stretch and after shooting 52 percent in the first half, BU collected on just 6-of-22 shots in the second half (27%).

Sophomore guard Jordan Reed came off the bench and hit 4-of-4 free throws in the final 2:49 - the last pair with 1:34 left tied the game at 54-54. Reed tallied eight points and four rebounds in 24 minutes of action. Freshman guard Yosef Yacob scored a team-high 14 points and handed out four assists. Classmate Nick Madray chipped in nine points and Waller added a career-high 11 rebounds and seven points.

Binghamton was sharp out of the gate, hitting 8-of-9 to start. The Bearcats led 24-14 after getting three-pointers from four different players in the game’s first 6:36. But Hartford used a 12-2 run to even the score at 26-26 and despite shooting over 60 percent for most of the half, BU committed nine turnovers and had to settle for a 28-27 halftime lead.

In the second half, the Bearcats got to the foul line, where they hit 14-of-18 to keep the game within their grasp. Waller’s two free throws gave BU its final lead, 44-43, with 7:47 left. But a quick 7-0 Hartford run, fueled by two three-pointers in a 34-second span from Cole, gave the Hawks a 50-44 edge with 4:49 left. Binghamton had to play catch-up the rest of the way.

Cole (8-for-18 three-pointers) and Waller were named the America East Players of the Game.

Binghamton travels to Burlington for a tough road test at league-leading Vermont (5-0 AE) Sunday night.

(Courtesy: Binghamton University Athletics)

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