Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Junior guard Robert Mansell scored a game-high 16 points and sophomore guard Jordan Reed scored the decisive putback with 41 seconds left to give Binghamton a 48-47 win over Bloomsburg in a men’s basketball exhibition game Saturday afternoon from the Events Center. The Bearcats, who started three freshmen and four underclassmen in all, couldn’t claim the victory until the visitors missed four shots in the final eight seconds.
“I’m happy we found a way to win,” head coach Tommy Dempsey said. “We have a totally new group of guys playing together for the first time and I know this team will get better. Today was just the starting point.”
In his first game back in the lineup after missing last season with an injury, Mansell played 31 minutes and scored 10 of his points in the final period. He converted 8-of-10 from the foul line, including four free throws in the final 3:11.
Binghamton had to go to the wire to fend off the Division II Huskies, who held a 49-35 rebound advantage, were ahead at intermission and led for most of the second half. After Reed gathered his own miss and banked in a turnaround jumper in the lane with 41 seconds left, Bloomsburg had three good looks down low in the final eight seconds but missed each one. Freshman forward Magnus Richards corralled the final miss with two seconds left. After a pair of free throw misses at the other end, the Huskies’ final shot - a desperation half-court heave at the buzzer - bounced off the front rim.
The Bearcats were hampered by 21 misses at the free throw line and shot 30% from the field for the game.
“We ran good offense today and got to the basket,” Dempsey said. “But we didn’t make our free throws so we couldn’t get any separation ... that’s why it was such a low scoring and close game throughout. Bloomsburg is a good Division II team - a veteran and physical team ... and holding them to 47 points was a good sign for us. I thought our man-to-man defense was good. The shots just weren’t falling but there are many positives. We were all over the floor hustling and I thought our kids were really focused.”
Bloomsburg led 43-37 with 4:17 left before Reed and Mansell went to work. Reed followed a miss with a put-back dunk with 3:54 left and Mansell added two free throws 43 seconds later to pull BU to within two, 43-41, with 3:11 left. Reed recorded a steal on the next Huskies’ possession and his ensuing free throw made it 43-42 with 2:43 left. After a pair of Bloomsburg free throws pushed the visitors’ lead to 45-42, Richards made a strong drive to the rim for a layup with 2:10 left. Mansell’s two free throws with 1:47 left gave BU its first lead of the second half, 46-45. A Bloomsburg layup with 1:30 left finished their scoring and set the stage for Reed’s game-winning bucket.
Binghamton struggled to find its shots all game long, hitting just 30 percent from the field, including 3-for-14 from three-point range, and leaving at least 21 points unclaimed at the free throw line (15-for-36). The Bearcats opened the game by missing their first six shots of the game before freshman guard Marlon Beck II drilled three three-pointers in a 1:56 span to put BU up 11-7 early. The Bearcats led 22-16 with 5:17 left in the period before Bloomsburg closed out the half with an 11-3 run. Binghamton missed 13 free throws in that first frame.
Beck scored all 10 of his points in the first half on 3-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc. For the game, Reed chipped in nine points with team-highs of eight rebounds and four steals. Richards added five points and five rebounds in 17 minutes of action.
Dontahe Jordan led three Bloomsburg players in double figures with 15 points. The Huskies, who play out of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, also put a scare into Towson in their first exhibition game on October 24, leading in the second half before the host Tigers pulled away.
The Bearcats begin their regular season by hosting Loyola at 8 p.m. on November 8. The game is the nightcap of a home-opening doubleheader with the BU women, who host Buffalo at 5:30 p.m.
(Courtesy : Binghamton University Athletics)