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Bearcats fall just short to Hawks at home

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VESTAL, N.Y. - Binghamton men's basketball (3-13, 0-3 America East) put up its highest point total in five weeks but fell short in the closing minute to visiting Hartford, 76-72, Wednesday night at Dr. Bai Lee Court at the Events Center. The Hawks led the entire second half and hit 5-of-6 free throws in the closing 21 seconds to seal the win.

Sophomore forward Willie Rodriguez led four BU players in double figures with 19 points and freshman center Thomas Bruce tallied his first collegiate double-double with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Binghamton outshot Hartford and held the Hawks, who came in hitting nearly 10 threes a game to just 4-of-17 shooting from beyond the arc. But 18 turnovers led to 21 visitor points and despite keeping within striking range for most of the second half, BU came up short for the 10th straight time against Hartford.

"I'm disappointed with the result tonight," head coach Tommy Dempsey said. "I thought we had a couple opportunities in the second half where we fought back but just couldn't get over the hump. We lost the game a little bit in the first half because we couldn't contain them off the dribble. We limited them from three-point range but they were able to beat us off the dribble and get points in the paint. Offensively, I thought we got really good shots and the players did a good job getting the ball where it needed to go. I thought we scored pretty consistently most of the second half. It wasn't a great defensive night for us though."

The Bearcats trailed 67-57 with 4:57 left before an 11-4 run brought them to within a possession of tying the game. Junior guard Marlon Beck's three-pointer with 1:21 left made it 71-68. Bruce then notched his third block of the game on Hartford's next possession but a missed layup on the offensive end and five subsequent free throws in the final 0:21 closed it out.

Rodriguez netted 10 of his 19 points in the first half, when BU shot 50 percent but committed 10 turnovers and trailed 37-31 at intermission.

Davis scored 11 of his 17 points in the second half and the first-year guard also grabbed eight rebounds. Sophomore forward Justin McFadden added 11 points and a career-high tying nine rebounds.

Binghamton missed 13 free throws (21-of-34).

The Bearcats next play at two-time reigning America East champion Albany Monday night.

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)