By David F.P. [Image Gallery]
WEST HARTFORD, CT- The Binghamton Bearcats have had to face their share of adversity in the past year with scandals off the court affecting who appears on the court, but nonetheless they’ve won a few games and came into the night with a better record than the host Hartford Hawks. Despite leading late in the game the Bearcats would not add the Hawks to their win list this night thanks to a comeback capped off by Joe Zeglinski who hit a three to take the final lead of the game.
The game opened with each side playing to a 9-9 tie. Milton Burton’s 3 struck first for Hartford, but Binghamton’s Greer Wright responded with a 3 of his own, and teammate Chretien Lukusa added 2, only to have Burton hit another 3, and 3 more points soon followed, Wright picked up 2 more baskets to tie it up. Zeglinski had another open 3 and drained it to regain the lead for Hartford but a Hawks foul gave Lukusa two shots which he made. Interestingly enough each side was getting plenty of defensive rebounds but surrendering offensive rebounds. Zeglinski hit another 3 to bring the score to 15-11, but Binghamton’s Dylan Talley drove, spun and scored to cut the lea. A UHa foul put Wright at the line and he sank both, and later he dished to Kyrie Sutton who put it in. Lukusa stole the ball from Hartford and passed it to Moussa Camara who laid it in to tie the game at 17.
This time Morgan Sabia responded with a 3 for Hartford, though a Binghamton two pointer cut the lead again. Sabia had another shot but his foot was inside the arc and he only got 2. Later U of H’s Charles White then headed for the net and found it, and not long after Kevin Estes hooked the ball over the defender for another 2 for Hartford. The score was 26-19 with 7:27 to play.
Wright didn’t accept that and beat some defenders for 2, he then fed Sutton under the net soon afterward and it was 26-23. White went to the line with two foul shots and made them and Sabia hit a jumper not long after that, though Binghamton hit two to keep the lead at 30-25. Each side stole the ball from each other but got no points. Binghamton’s Camara benefited from a foul and hit the two shots, Hartford had an open 3 but it went into the rim and out again, and Binghamton used the chance to gain 2 more points. White headed for the basket and threw it in to put the lead back at 3. Hartford soon had a chance to inbound but the pass was way over thrown towards the opposing basket, Camara caught it and ran all the way in unmolested for the slam. Talley then added 2 to take the lead for the Bearcats. The half would end like that with Binghamton leading 33-32.
The second half opened with both sides having some issues passing the ball around. Joel Barkers was the first to score for the Hawks, though Mahamoud Jabbi’s slam regained the lead for the Bearcats. After a battle for the ball, Binghamton recovered and Lukusa shot a jumper with success, 37-34.
A foul on Barkers put him at the line and he missed one, made one, Sutton picked up a rebound and slammed it to enlarge the Bearcats lead. Sabia’s 3 pointer cut it again, and Barkers spinning hook tied it up at 39.
The visitors scored 4 in rapid succession though and Talley nailed a 3 to really make things difficult, only to have a teammate add two more points, bringing the game score to 48-39. Barkers went on the attack and went up picking up 2 and the foul, a free throw that he made. Talley struck again to make the lead 8 but two foul shots later Hartford was back within 2. Talley went aerial to score the next two points however, and picked up a foul. 53-42 Binghamton. Zeglinski passed it over to Barkers though and he picked up the basket.
Binghamton coach Mark Macon called a time out with the lead down to 7 at 10:33. Play resumed and Burton set up and hit a 3, 49-53. Wright scored two to keep the lead at 6 and a foul later and a made three throw by Jabbi made it 7 56-49. Zeglinski put up a three but it rolled into the rim and out. A time out was called at 7:32.
Barkers scored 2 when play resumed and drew the foul, making the shot, Talley however benefited from a well set up 3 point opportunity by sending the ball through the net. Barkers had an opportunity to slam it but somehow he missed and Wright responded by going down the court and slamming on himself. The lead was now 61-51 Binghamton.
White went hunting for two and got it, plus the foul, but he missed the shot, Sabia came up with a rebound and got fouled in the process, Binghamton by now had enough fouls that Hartford went to the line each time. Sabia hit both and the lead was 55-61. Zeglinski got rebound and he was fouled, making both free throws and cutting the lead to four. On an ensuing play, Burton received the ball went under the net sideways and shot it back up and in, the score was 59-61 as Hartford had scored eight unanswered points. Hartford however passed the ball out of bounds on the next opportunity. A time out followed, but as Binghamton moved into position they traveled. Hartford went on the attack and Zeglinski drove to the center of the paint untouched and scored to tie the game. 33 seconds remained and Binghamton took a time out to setup.
On the Bearcat attack, Talley scored two to regain the lead 63-61. The Hawks headed down court and the ball landed in Zeglinski’s hands beyond the ark. He nailed it and the crowd exploded. Each side took a time out following that. Binghamton set up their shot, it flew to the basket hit the backboard and fell out, each side pounced on the ball it rolled around, bodies scrambling after it, but time expired. Hartford had the win 64-63. It was a tough America East contest where each side had their flourishes and in the end it came down to one point.
Hartford improves to 5-14, 3-3 in the conference and Binghamton drops to 7-13, 2-3 in the conference.