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Rodriguez's career night lifts Bearcats past Hawks

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WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - Sophomore forward Willie Rodriguez tied his career-high with 27 points and Binghamton men's basketball (6-19, 3-9 America East) led for 35 minutes en route to a 68-54 road win at Hartford (7-19, 2-9 AE) Thursday night at Chase Arena.

Rodriguez reached the 20-point mark for the fifth time this season and added a game-high 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. The Bearcats wrapped it up by outscoring the Hawks 17-7 to close the game.

"It was a great team win," head coach Tommy Dempsey said. "Everyone contributed ... it was subtle in some ways but all 10 guys did their job tonight. Hartford is an offensive-minded team and we held them to 34 percent and did a good job on that end. And then we were able to score inside and expose them. Sixteen assists was a good number for us with only eight turnovers. We took care of the ball and overall played solid. This was one we needed to grab. We talked about finishing strong and I think we're playing well right now."

Binghamton led by as many as 14 points early in the second half before the Hawks trimmed it to five, 50-45, with 6:01 left. But Rodriguez hit 4-of-4 free throws in a 46-second span and then drilled a three-pointer with 2:38 to play that pushed BU's lead back double figures, 60-49. With 1:32 left, freshman center Thomas Bruce punctuated the win with an alley-oop jam off a great feed from classmate Timmy Rose.

Bruce joined Rodriguez in double figures with 12 points. Junior guard Marlon Beck added seven points and three assists.

The Bearcats held Hartford to 35 percent shooting.

Binghamton has six days off before facing Vermont in Burlington next Wednesday.

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)
(Video Courtesy: BU Athletics)