Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton)
Visiting Vermont (19-9, 11-4 AE) shot 58 percent in the second half and used its size advantage to pull away for a 78-61 win over Binghamton (3-25, 1-14 AE) in an America East men’s basketball game Thursday night at the Events Center.
On Senior Night, head coach Tommy Dempsey started his four seniors and the Bearcats jumped out to an 18-11 lead eight minutes into the contest. But the Catamounts used a 22-8 advantage in points in the paint to take a 30-28 lead at intermission. Then the visitors shot an efficient 58 percent in the second half and put 48 points on the board to win going away.
“We played well for much of the game but Vermont is a lot bigger and they stepped up and made shots and played like a veteran team that expects to win,” Dempsey said. “I thought we did some good things tonight and we fought and never went away. But they played an excellent second half. We are playing better basketball ... to not turn the ball over the entire second half was positive.”
Freshman guard Jordan Reed, who continues to lead the America East in both scoring (16.9 ppg.) and rebounding (9.5), netted 13 of his game-high 18 points in the second half as the Bearcats tried to keep pace. Reed hit a jumper with 17:02 remaining that knotted the score at 37-37 - the last time BU was even on the scoreboard. Vermont then embarked on an 11-2 run that featured two layups and a pair of three-pointers in a 1:56 span. A three-point play from Reed stemmed the tide and brought BU to within six, 48-42, with 14:46 to play but the Catamounts countered with another three-pointer and stretched their lead to double-figures midway through the period. The Bearcats made one final push and senior guard Jimmy Gray’s three-pointer with 6:20 remaining brought BU to within seven, 62-55. But Vermont outscored Binghamton 16-6 to end the game.
Reed hit 7-of-16 and pulled down nine rebounds in 39 minutes. Gray hit 4-of-8 from three-point range and wound up with 16 points, three assists and two steals. Senior forward Javon Ralling netted 11 points with five boards and classmate Taylor Johnston used a rare four-point play to get to his game total of seven points. Binghamton’s final senior, Mike Horn, chipped in two steals and three rebounds in his regular stalwart defensive game.
Vermont put three players in double figures, led by junior forward Clancy Rugg, who netted 17 points. For the game, Vermont outscored Binghamton 38-14 in the paint. The Catamounts converted 14-of-16 free throws in the pivotal second half.
Binghamton finishes out the regular season Sunday afternoon at UMBC. The Bearcats are locked into the No. 8 seed for the upcoming America East tournament and will face regular-season champion and top-seeded Stony Brook in a quarterfinal game on March 9 in Albany.
(Courtesy: BU Athletics)