Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton)
Jacob Iati and Mike Black combined for 43 points to pace visiting Albany in a 74-63 win over Binghamton Thursday night in an ESPN3 game in front of 3,548 fans at the Events Center. Two days after an emotional win over then-league-leading Vermont, Binghamton (1-27, 1-14 AE) shot a season-high 51 percent but the Great Danes (18-13, 9-7 AE) countered with eight three-pointers and 22-of-26 accuracy from the free throw line.
Iati hit 5-of-7 three-pointers and 7-of-10 overall for a game-high 22 points. Black’s 21 points were built primarily on 9-of-10 marksmanship from the line, where Albany made 85% of its attempts. Gerardo Suero added 15 points - 13 in the second half - and 11 rebounds for the Great Danes, who swept the season series and will finish fourth in the conference standings.
In an evenly-played first half, the Great Danes led 23-21 with 3:54 remaining before embarking on an 11-0 run that gave them a 34-21 cushion late in the half. The Bearcats scored a bucket with four seconds left to trail 34-23 at the break, but the double-digit run did its damage. Iati and Black combined for seven of the 11 points and Binghamton suffered five turnovers, committed four fouls and attempted no shots in the pivotal 3:27 span.
An 11-5 run to open the second half brought the Bearcats to within five, 39-34, with 15:51 remaining. But leading scorer Robert Mansell left the game with an injury and a resulting 13-4 Great Danes’ run restored their double-digit lead. After trailing by as many as 15 points with 9:45 left, the Bearcats made one last run by outscoring their guests 18-10 over an eight-minute period. Junior guard Jimmy Gray drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key to make the score 67-60, with 1:30 to play. But Albany, which entered the game shooting 75% as a team from the line, made 7-of-10 foul shots in the final 1:25 to ice the game. Each team scored 40 points in the second half.
“I applaud Albany,” head coach Mark Macon said. “They executed their game plan. Iati was important but Black won the game for them ... he hit big shots and made plays. Early in the game we had them pegged but they made adjustments and we just couldn’t get over the hump. My guys still played hard and still were grinding it out for me tonight.”
Freshman forward Ben Dickinson led three BU players in double figures with 21 points. He hit 6-of-9 from the field and 9-of-10 from the line. Junior forward Taylor Johnston made 5-of-7 shots (12 pts.) and added five boards and Gray added 11 points, four assists and two steals.
The Bearcats wrap up their regular season with an away game Sunday at New Hampshire. One week from tonight, BU will begin its postseason with a matchup against No. 8 seed UMBC in the first round of the America East Championship at Hartford. Last season, BU drilled a tournament-record 17 three-pointers to advance with a 91-65 win over the Retrievers in the same early-round matchup.