Albany, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Host Albany (10-9, 4-2 AE) made seven free throws in the final 1:48 to overcome a gritty effort by shorthanded Binghamton (4-14, 1-4 AE) 66-60 in an America East men’s basketball game Monday night from SEFCU Arena. The Bearcats had the ball for a potential game-tying or winning shot in the final 10 seconds but a missed three and four Great Danes free throws closed out the scoring.
The Bearcats were minus two starters and gave away a lot of size but scrapped against the defending conference champion Great Danes, who pulled down 18 offensive rebounds.
Freshmen Nick Madray and Marlon Beck II had 16 points apiece and first-year guard Yosef Yacob added 12 points and hit a clutch three-pointer with 32 seconds left that pulled BU to within one, 61-60. Sophomore guard Karon Waller gave the Bearcats a fourth double-digit scorer with 10 points.
“It was a good basketball game,” head coach Tommy Dempsey said. “I’m proud of the way we played … we had the ball with a chance to win it and got a good look. That’s all you can ask for on the road. It was a real team effort tonight. It’s the best I’ve felt about how we’ve played in my two years here. We had good balance. We’re still struggling to score (34% FG) but our defense was really good and forcing 19 turnovers gave us a chance. Our activity and competitiveness were good.”
Down three at the break, BU scored the first seven points of the second half to take the lead and a Beck three gave the Bearcats a 38-35 lead five minutes into the final period. But an ensuing 18-5 Albany run gave the hosts a 53-43 edge with 10:04 remaining. Binghamton hit just 1-of-8 during the span. But BU showed no quit and Waller hit a three and then added a putback to start the comeback. Senior center Roland Brown’s pretty reverse layup off a Yacob feed finished off a 12-3 run that pulled Binghamton to within one, 56-55, with 3:23 left. Waller answered two Albany free throws with a pair himself with 1:37 left and Yacob hit the tough three moving to his left to set up the dramatic finish.
Trailing 62-60 with 10 seconds left, Madray had a good look at a three from the right side but it was short and though Brown came up with the rebound, he was whistled for his fifth foul. Albany made five free throws in the final 22 seconds to hang on for the win – their seventh straight in the head-to-head series, which is now even at 13-13 in both schools’ Division I era.
Binghamton battled in the first half after spotting Albany the game’s first eight points. Beck had 10 points, Madray chipped in nine and Brown led the defensive effort with two drawn charges, a steal and three rebounds.
Brown wound up with six points, four rebounds, three drawn charges, two blocks and a steal in a season-high 30 minutes.
After committing three turnovers in the first two minutes and falling behind 8-0, BU went on a 9-2 run that began with a Beck three-pointer. After the Great Danes nailed back-to-back threes to push their lead to 16-9, the Bearcats chipped away and took a brief 26-25 lead on a Beck free throw with 1:15 left. Albany scored the final four points of the half to take a 29-26 lead into intermission. Freshman John Rinaldi provided a spark with two steals and the Bearcats made 10-of-12 free throws to offset 33 percent shooting from the floor. Twenty-two combined fouls and 19 turnovers made for a prolonged first period.
Binghamton returns home to host Hartford on Thursday.
(Courtesy: Binghamton University Athletics)