Albany, NY (WBNG Binghamton)
Gerardo Suero scored a game-high 25 points and host Albany (13-9, 5-3 AE) hit six free throws in the final 1:01 to fend off pesky Binghamton (0-20, 0-8 AE) 74-66 Wednesday night from SEFCU Arena.
Suero, the nation’s fourth-leading scorer, scored 16 of his points in the second half to pace the Great Danes. Albany withstood a game effort by Binghamton, which led by two at the break and didn’t surrender the lead until the game’s final eight minutes.
A 10-2 BU run gave the Bearcats a 52-47 lead with 8:50 remaining. Sophomore guard Robert Mansell scored six of his team-high 22 points during the run, which spanned 3:24. But Albany countered with a 14-2 run and held the Bearcats to just one field goal over an 8:23 span to take the lead for good. Down 66-58 with 3:51 remaining, BU scored four straight on a pair of free throws from freshman guard Chris Longoria and a putback from first-year forward Omar Richards to pull within four, 66-62, with 1:29 left. But Albany held steady from the free throw line to seal the win.
“I am proud of the guys but we still have to right the mistakes,” head coach Mark Macon said. “We started out with a lot of energy, kept fighting and I think the guys learned something about themselves tonight. We did a good job on their bigs but couldn’t stop their two mainstays (Suero and Black). Nobody is handing us anything. Eventually it will happen … we have to keep on working. I have a team without any seniors and we have a bunch of inexperienced guys. Albany has veterans and a kid (Suero) who knows how to play. You just have to learn from these games.”
Mansell hit 8-of-19 for his 22 points and added three assists in 39 hard minutes. Freshman forward Ben Dickinson, BU’s America East Player of the Game, produced 21 points, eight rebounds and a team-high five assists in 38 minutes. Richards wound up with 10 points, six boards and three blocks in 34 minutes. Longoria chipped in nine points and junior guard Jimmy Gray offered five rebounds, five steals and four points in 38 minutes.
The Bearcats got off to a stellar start, hitting their first four shots and jumping out to an 8-2 lead less than three minutes into the contest. Albany meanwhile, missed 7-of-8 to start and after Longoria soared to grab an offensive rebound and jam it home with 13:33 remaining, all five starters had scored and BU had a 14-7 lead – its largest lead of the season. Binghamton held a 19-14 lead before Albany heated up with a 12-4 run that pushed the hosts ahead by three, 26-23 with 5:18 left. But Dickinson scored five of his nine first-half points in the final 2:50 and the Bearcats forged ahead 33-31 at the half – the team’s third halftime lead of the season and its largest cushion.
Mansell scored 11 first-half points and BU held an 18-6 margin in the paint. Albany was aided by 5-of-11 three-point shooting.
Binghamton next makes the nine-hour trek to Orono to face Maine Saturday afternoon.