Bearcats hold off late comeback in win over Mount Saint Mary's
VESTAL, N.Y. - Sophomore forward Willie Rodriguez tallied 19 points and a career-high 13 rebounds and Binghamton (3-9) made 10-of-12 free throws in the final 1:47 to hold off visiting Mount St. Mary's (3-10) 62-53 Tuesday night at Dr. Bai Lee Court at the Events Center.
Rodriguez notched his second double-double of the season and freshman guard Everson Davis added 18 points as the Bearcats snapped a five-game losing streak.
"It was a really solid defensive performance," head coach Tommy Dempsey said. "Our players competed very hard on defense and that created some offense for us. We played with an energy and a purpose tonight. Their (Mount St. Mary's) biggest asset is their energy and it was important that we were the team with the most energy. We tried to guard the ball with five guys at all times and we closed hard on their shooters and executed well. The way we closed out the game was very important, with defensive stops and free throws. We haven't been in a lot of those spots (holding a lead down the stretch) ... but we attacked and got to the free throw line ... and to get to the line 38 times - that's a product of playing good, aggressive basketball."
The Bearcats opened the game with a 21-9 run and Davis (11 pts.) and Rodriguez (10 pts.) led the first-half charge that netted a 31-23 lead at intermission.
Binghamton then led the entire second half, though the Mountaineers trimmed it to as few as two late in the game. A trio of traditional three-point plays were pivotal in BU's stance. First, sophomore center Dusan Perovic converted a bucket plus a free throw with 7:14 left, stretching a 42-40 lead to 45-40. Then with BU clinging to a 45-42 lead, Rodriguez followed his own miss with a putback and free throw with 4:16 left, bumping the lead back up to six. After two Mount St. Mary's free throws made it 48-44 on the next possession, Rodrguez went full court with the inbounds pass to sophomore forward Justin McFadden and his lay-in plus free throw made it 51-44 with four minutes left.
The Bearcats then converted 10-of-12 free throws in the final 1:43 to seal the win. Davis made seven of those to pad his game total.
Binghamton went 28-for-38 from the line with Davis (10-of-12) and Rodriguez (8-of-11) doing most of the damage.
McFadden chipped in 12 points and junior forward John Rinaldi sparked the team with a career-high seven rebounds, a steal and an assist in 22 minutes.
Binghamton plays its final non-conference game of the season Saturday afternoon at Penn.
(Courtesy: BU Atlhetics)