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Bearcats struggle to get things going, fall to LIU Brooklyn

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VESTAL, N.Y. - Visiting LIU Brooklyn (5-8) had two starters with 20+ points and the Blackbirds shot 61 percent in the second half to hold off Binghamton men's basketball (8-6) 74-66 Friday night at Dr. Bai Lee Court at the Events Center. 

The disjointed game was slowed by 41 fouls, including a combined 29 in the second half. Playing without injured starting center Thomas Bruce, the Bearcats couldn't find their rhythm and had three players foul out of the contest, including two starters. They fell behind 13-4 to open the game and trailed the entire first half before dwindling the margin to one, 30-29 at the break. 

Twice in the opening two minutes of the second half BU took the lead but LIU's offense kept churning out baskets. A 19-9 run gave the visitors a 53-43 lead with 11:50 left. The Bearcats trimmed the margin to three two times, including the last with 4:11 left when junior guard Timmy Rose drove in for an acrobatic layup to make it 64-61.

But despite holding LIU to just one more field goal the rest of the way, Binghamton couldn't convert enough on the offensive end to finish the comeback. The Blackbirds made 8-of-10 free throws in the final 1:32 to seal it.

Senior center Dusan Perovic led the Bearcats with 13 points (5-of-8) in 21 minutes. Junior guard Everson Davis added 10 points and four steals and junior guard J.C. Show chipped in nine points.

LIU's tandem of Joel Hernandez (25 pts.) and Raiquan Clark (23 pts.) paved the way as the Blackbirds completed their fourth win over an America East team this season (Hartford 2x, Stony Brook). 

Binghamton ends the 2017 calendar year with a home game against Elmira on Dec. 30.

Pregame head coach Tommy Dempsey was honored with a game ball after notching his 250th collegiate win in BU's recent victory over Loyola ... Bruce was injured in Friday's pregame shootaround and was in street clothes on the bench with an ankle injury. 

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)