Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton)
Chase Plummer notched 17 points and 10 rebounds to pace visiting UMBC (5-16, 3-5 AE) in a 61-58 win over Binghamton (3-18, 1-7 AE) in an America East game Wednesday night from the Events Center. The tight game featured five ties and 10 lead-changes in the second half and and wasn’t decided until a final-second Bearcats’ 3-bid bounced off the rim.
Plummer score four points in a 14-second span to give the Retrievers a 59-54 lead with two minutes remaining. UMBC then withstood two missed free throws with 8 seconds left that opened the door to one final Binghamton attempt.
Senior guard Jimmy Gray, whose tip-in with 9.6 seconds left brought the Bearcats to within three, launched the potential game-tying three from the right side, but it was just long and bounced off the back iron as the horn sounded. Gray took a feed from freshman guard Jordan Reed, who drove to the right of the lane before kicking it back out to Gray, who hoisted the contested shot.
Binghamton missed three of its last four shots and had two costly turnovers on back-to-back possessions in the final 2:03.
“It was a hard-fought game ... both teams were really competing,” head coach Tommy Dempsey said. “We came up a little short but we put ourselves in position to win and that’s how you grow. We had a few empty possessions down the stretch but I thought we had good execution in the paint and I also thought we played with good energy. It was a real positive after the way we performed on Saturday (a 63-45 loss to UNH) to battle like we did. We’re struggling to make perimeter shots but we scored better tonight on the inside (32 points in paint).”
The Bearcats outscored UMBC 32-16 in the paint and were nearly even on the glass (35-34 UMBC) but hit just 4-of-20 from three-point range and shot just 39 percent overall for the game.
Reed continued to expand his highlight reel with three alley-oop dunks, including a soaring one with 5:18 left that tied the game at 48-48. Gray flipped a ball from the top of the key and Reed elevated over a Retrievers’ defender to flush it. Reed, who scored 16 of his game-high 21 points in the second half, converted a layup with 3:25 left that gave BU its final lead, 53-52. But the next three Bearcats possessions were a missed three and two turnovers - the second of which was a Plummer steal-and-jam combination that pushed UMBC’s lead to five.
Junior center Roland Brown made a layup with 49 seconds left but UMBC’s Aaron Morgan answered by sinking a pair of free throws with 37 seconds left to make it 61-56. The Bearcats missed two more three-point attempts before Gray’s tip-in set the scene for the final eight seconds.
Reed, who leads the America East in rebounding (8.8 rpg.) and ranks second in scoring (16.1 ppg.), shot 9-of-20 for the game and added a team-high seven rebounds, two steals and two assists. He hit 7-of-12 in the second half.
Gray wound up with 11 points, six assists and a pair of steals.
Junior center Brian Freeman earned the start and seemed poised for a big night with a jam and four points in the opening 2:40. But he was whistled for three fouls in the first half and ultimately fouled out with 5:47 left after logging just 12 minutes. Senior forward Javon Ralling chipped in eight points.
UMBC shot 50 percent in the second half and hit 10-of-24 from beyond the arc against BU’s 2-3 zone. In addition to Plummer, Brian Neller added 18 points on 6-of-13 long-range shooting.
Neither team led by more than six points in the game.
Binghamton next travels to Albany on Saturday to face the Great Danes in the back-half of a doubleheader evening with the women’s team.
(Courtesy: BU Athletics)