Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton)
Senior guard Charles Jenkins poured in 33 of his career-high 40 points after intermission to lift visiting Hofstra (5-3) to an 89-85 overtime win over Binghamton (1-6) Wednesday night from the Events Center. Fans and a Time Warner Cable televised audience were treated to BU's best game of the young season as the Bearcats nearly doubled their season scoring average and came within a few free throws of securing the win.
Hofstra hit 4-of-6 shots in overtime including a key three-pointer from junior guard Mike Moore with 53 seconds left that stretched the visitor's lead to 85-79. Four free throws in the final 13 seconds sealed Hofstra's fourth straight win. After shooting 50% or higher for most of the game, BU misfired on 6-of-10 in the extra session, including a pair of three-point attempts in the final 26 seconds.
The Bearcats squandered a golden chance to ice the game in regulation. Senior guard Chretien Lukusa drove to the rim for a left-handed layup to give BU a 75-73 lead with 18 seconds remaining. On the ensuing Hofstra inbounds, senior forward Greer Wright leaped from behind a Pride player to steal the inbounds pass and was fouled. Wright had two shots to pad the lead but the 74% shooter missed both off the front rim and Jenkins weaved through the lane for the game-tying layup with six seconds left. Still with time for a final attempt in regulation, BU only managed a long-range Wright three-point shot, which was well short at the buzzer.
It was a bittersweet night for Wright, who produced a sensational game with 28 points, seven assists and four steals. But he left eight points at the free throw line and BU as a team struggled to 11-of-22 shooting from the charity stripe.
"We've improved drastically but we just came up short in the end," head coach Mark Macon said. "We played 40 minutes but we didn't play the last five (overtime). They made their free throws and we didn't. We're learning our offense and we're executing it better. Our guys were a little more comfortable out there. You have to be ready though. You can't relax and we were relaxing at times. We need to always be ready."
Binghamton led for most of the game and pushed the margin to 12, 56-44, on a three-pointer from senior forward Mahamoud Jabbi with 10:44 remaining. But with NBA prospect Jenkins taking more control of the Pride offense, Hofstra began to trim its deficit. Jenkins scored nine during a 19-9 run that brought the Pride to within two, 65-63, with 6:06 left in regulation. The game was tied three times in the final 2:38 of regulation.
Sophomore guard Jimmy Gray delighted his hometown crowd with a career-high 18 points. Gray hit 6-of-11, including three treys in 34 minutes. Lukusa added 13 points and four assists.
The Bearcats looked especially sharp in the first half when they drilled seven three-pointers and forged a 33-28 lead at intermission. Wright had 13 points and Gray hit for eight. A 16-7 second-half run, punctuated with Jabbi's second career three-pointer, gave BU the 12-point cushion. But BU went 3:05 without a field goal and Jenkins took advantage.