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Bearcats cruise past UMBC

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BALTIMORE, Md. - Binghamton men's basketball (3-20, 2-6 America East) forced 18 turnovers and led from start to finish in a 68-56 win over host UMBC (3-18, 1-7 AE) Wednesday night at the RAC Arena. With their first road win of the season and second conference victory, BU jumped into the sixth playoff position in the standings.

Freshmen forward Willie Rodriguez tallied 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists and classmate Bobby Ahearn contributed 11 points and six rebounds as the Bearcats received balanced production throughout their lineup. Sophomore guard Marlon Beck and junior Karon Waller added nine points apiece.

"Overall it was a much needed win and I was pleased that the guys came down here and got our first road win of the season," head coach Tommy Dempsey said. "There was a lot of good tonight … winning is a good feeling and hopefully the guys can enjoy it and then get ready for UMass Lowell."

The Bearcats led by nine at half but UMBC cut the margin to four, 36-32, less than five minutes into the second half. Binghamton, responded, however, with an 18-8 run that featured five points from Waller. The Bearcats kept the Retrievers at bay the remainder of the game, maintaining at least a nine-point lead throughout the final nine minutes.

Binghamton shot 46 percent for the game and kept UMBC to 38 percent accuracy.

The Bearcats were sharp out of the gate, hitting 3-of-4 shots to start and scoring the first seven points of the game. Beck hit a three and a driving layup, freshman guard Romello Walker drove baseline for an emphatic dunk and Ahearn drew two charges on the defensive end during the early run. UMBC drew within two, 12-10, before BU embarked on an 11-0 run that featured points from five different players. The run, which spanned 5:16, resulted in a 23-10 lead. An Ahearn layup pushed the cushion to 14, 29-15 before the Retrievers brought it back to single digits at half, 33-24.

Rodriguez tallied 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the first half.

Binghamton returns home to host UMass Lowell at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)