Basketball, Basketball, NCAA, Sports

Men’s basketball wins third straight vs. Binghamton

Coming off of three previous one- to two-point margin games, the Boston University Terriers defeated the Binghamton University Bearcats 68-63 Saturday afternoon at Case Gym. 

Despite pretty consistent scoring on initial possessions, the Bearcats (2-5) out scored the Terriers (7-3) during the heart of the first half of the match. The tide turned slightly when sophomore guard Caelan Jones scored a 3 for his first career basket, giving the Terriers their first lead at 15-13 since the fourth minute. The lead did not last long, though, and it would change three more times in the next two minutes. 

Graduate student guard Javante McCoy dribbles the ball in a basketball match against Binghamton University at Case Gym Saturday. The Terriers defeated the Bearcats 68-63. MOHAN GE/ DFP STAFF

“We were really bad defensively, especially in the first half of the game,” head coach Joe Jones said in a post-game press conference. “We were better in the second half. We held them to 38% [shooting].”

Graduate student guard Javante McCoy led the team in points with 27 in the matchup, contributing to a total of 182 so far this season. During the second half, McCoy reached 1,500 career points.

“I couldn’t be more proud of him,” graduate student forward Sukhmail Mathon said. “Fifteen hundred, that’s a big achievement … he’s worked his butt off since he’s been here.”

At the end of the first half, the Bearcats led 30-27. Starting off the second half, BU held off Binghamton for four minutes and put up seven points in the meantime.

While there were six lead changes in the first half, there was just one in the second — the Terriers tied the game 12 seconds in and quickly took the lead with a free throw from senior forward Fletcher Tynen. The Terriers would hang onto the lead for the duration of the game. 

But in the second half the Bearcats began to claw their way out of the deficit and were able to bring the game within a two-point margin multiple times. They tied the game up with less than two minutes to go. However, the Terriers continued to find scoring opportunities and capitalize on them. 

“In the first half we weren’t a connected group,” Mathon said. “So in the second half, I think we did a better job of being vocal and just telling each other to switch or get through a ball screen.”

With less than three minutes to play, Binghamton was down by just one point off a pair of free throws from junior guard Tyler Bertram. And just more than a minute later, with a Binghamton 3-pointer from junior guard Hakon Hjalmarsson, the Bearcats tied the game 60-60 with 1:44 to play. 

With less than one minute to play the Bearcats missed what would have been a crucial shot to stay in the game. On the other side of the court, McCoy downed a jump shot. The Terriers led 64-60 with 20 seconds to go. 

Mathon would go 2-of-2 for foul shots with 12 seconds left, ensuring the Bearcats would need at least two possessions to tie the game. The Bearcats were physical against Mathon and only allowed five shot attempts, but he went 14-of-16 from the line. 

“Everybody’s been real physical against [Mathon],” Jones said. “He’s been making them pay on the foul line.”

Senior guard Jonas Harper sank two foul shots of his own, and even though Binghamton’s Hjalmarsson sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer the Bearcats’ effort wasn’t enough. The Terriers won the game by five points — their highest winning margin since beating Sam Houston State 72-59 in the Jacksonville Classic 12 days earlier. 

Coming up, the University of Massachusetts Lowell Riverhawks will visit the Terriers at Case Gym Wednesday for a 7 p.m. game. The Riverhawks (6-3) had a massive 101-38 win against Fisher College earlier this season. Most recently, they beat the Merrimack College Warriors 61-57.

“I’ve got to make sure that I’m doing my part the next couple of days and get us ready for this last stretch,” Jones said, “because the competition is going to take a nice step up, and we’ve got to be ready for that.”

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