Immediate Release: February 26, 2006
Contact: John Hartrick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
BU men's basketball rallies past Vermont 67-62
Bearcats will carry No. 2 seed into tourney, face No. 7 Maine in quarters
America East Championship Bracket
BURLINGTON, Vt. - Sophomore point guard Mike Gordon (Plainfield, N.J.) led a ferocious BU rally with seven points in a 36-second span to lead Binghamton (15-12, 12-4 America East) past Vermont (11-16, 7-9 AE) 67-62 Sunday afternoon in the regular season finale for both teams. The Bearcats closed out the game on a 15-1 run to cap the program's most successful finish in five years of Division I conference play. Binghamton will carry the No. 2 seed into the America East Championship, which it will host March 3-5 at the Events Center. The Bearcats will face No. 7 Maine in the noon quarterfinal on March 4.
The Bearcats trailed 61-52 with 2:26 left before Gordon took over. He scored a layup, three-pointer and five-foot floater to cut the deficit to 61-59 with 1:50 left. Then with Vermont clinging to a 62-61 lead in the final minute, senior guard Andre Heard (Oklahoma City, Okla.) hit a tough one-handed bank shot from eight feet to give BU a 63-62 lead with 38 seconds left. After a potential game-winning Catamount shot rolled off the rim at the other end, junior guard Troy Hailey (Hyattsville, Md.) and Heard each sank a pair of free throws in the final 2.1 seconds to seal the victory.
"That was something," head coach Al Walker said. "The kids never gave in. It was incredible for our guys to come back like that on the road. I'm really proud of the team."
After a dismal shooting performance in the first half, BU rallied to tie the game at 34-34 four minutes into the second half. But the Catamounts embarked on a 17-2 run to build a 51-36 margin with 10:24 left. Vermont led 58-46 with 5:28 left and still owned a nine-point lead with less than three minutes left.
Heard wound up with a game-high 22 points and Gordon and Hailey chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Vermont was led by junior center Chris Holm, who tallied 14 points with 12 rebounds. The Catamounts held a 41-28 margin on the glass.
In the first half, BU missed 20 of its first 23 shots and trailed by as many as 18 points before pulling to within 11, 29-18, at intermission.
NOTES: The 15 wins are Binghamton's most in the Division I era and most in head coach Al Walker's six-year tenure... The 15 wins are also most wins in a season since the 1997-98 team (Division III) won 17 games... This was Binghamton's first win in five tries at Patrick Gymnasium. Mike Gordon made his only free throw attempt, stretching his consecutive streak to 19 straight made free throws. The second place finish by the Bearcats was its highest in the five years in the America East conference. In the preseason coaches' poll, the Bearcats were picked fourth.
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