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Binghamton Men's Hoops gets win on Senior Day 76-69

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VESTAL, N.Y. - Freshman forward Willie Rodriguez and sophomore guard Marlon Beck II combined for 41 points to pace Binghamton men's basketball (6-25, 5-11 America East) to a 76-69 win over UMBC (4-25, 2-14 AE) in the regular-season finale Saturday afternoon in front of 2,838 at the Events Center.

Rodriguez scored 13 of his game-high 21 points in the second half, when the Bearcats shot 55 percent to nail down the win. Beck hit 8-of-12 shots, including 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, en route to 20 points.

The win, BU's second in its last three games, gives Coach Tommy Dempsey's team five conference wins, the most in five years (8 in 2009-10).

"Overall it was a pretty well played game," Dempsey said. "We got out on them with the press and turned them over early and kick-started our offense with the press. To their credit they knocked down some threes but I thought we were relentless all day. It was a good performance and both Marlon and Willie made some big shots today."

Binghamton opened the game on a 9-1 run and with the early UMBC turnovers (10 in first 10:37), BU expanded its lead to 13, 21-8, with 9:17 to play. The Retrievers, however, scaled their deficit back to seven at the break, 31-24.

In the second half, UMBC was within three, 33-30, two minutes into the period before BU used a 15-5 run to restore a double-digit margin. Rodriguez had seven points during that stretch and Beck punctuated the run with a three-pointer that gave the Bearcats a 48-35 cushion with 14:33 left. UMBC cut the gap to four after hitting a three-pointer with 2:09 left in the game but Beck answered with a big three of his own and then the Bearcats made four free throws in the final 47 seconds tro wrap up the win.

Rodriguez nearly had a double-double but ended with nine rebounds. Freshman wing Justin McFadden had nine points, sophomore guard Yosef Yacob had eight points and freshman guard Romello Walker chipped in seven points and nine rebounds.

Binghamton heads to Long Island to meet third-seeded Stony Brook in an America East quarterfinal game at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

(Courtesy: Binghamton Athletics)