Immediate Release: February 29, 2004
VESTAL, N.Y. - Visiting Boston University (22-4, 17-1 America East) captured the regular-season title and gained the top seed for the upcoming America East Men's Basketball Championship with a 69-53 win over Binghamton (14-15, 10-8 AE) Sunday afternoon in front of a sellout crowd of 4,823 at the new Events Center. The Terriers have never lost to Binghamton (6-0), and finished the regular season with a perfect 9-0 record in away conference games.
The Terriers, who have won 23 of their last 24 games, used an 11-1 run to end the first half and stake themselves to a 37-26 lead - despite 52% shooting from the host Bearcats. In the second half, Binghamton trimmed the deficit to eight, 44-36, with 13:45 remaining, but Boston rattled off a 12-1 run to put the game away. The teams were polar opposites from the free throw line, where the Bearcats missed 15 foul shots (46%), including the front end of five 1-and-1 opportunitites. Boston, in sharp contrast, made 21-of-22 from the line for the game. The Bearcats are the worst team from the line in the 10-team conference.
"We played hard, but they are a terrific team, and they played like champions," head coach Al Walker said of the Terriers. "I have great respect for them. We hope we can get another crack at them in the tournament."
The Bearcats hit eight of their first 10 shots and held an early six-point lead before the Terriers began to heat up. Junior forward Rashad Bell scored 13 of his game-high 22 points in the first half, and senior forward Jason Grochowalski added 12 of his 14 in the opening frame. The final points of an 11-1 Boston run to end the half came when junior guard Chaz Carr stripped the ball away from Binghamton freshman guard Troy Hailey (Hyattsville, Md.), who was holding for the last shot. Carr raced down the floor and released a floating layup just before the horn sounded, giving the Terriers a 36-26 margin at the half.
The Terriers then limited Binghamton to just seven field goals over the final 20 minutes (30%), and their accuracy at the free throw line prevented any late Bearcats comeback.
was led by junior center Nick Billings (Kodiak, Alaska),
who tallied a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Billings,
however, missed all five field goal attempts in the second half,
and also misfired on five free throws. Senior guard Brandon
Carter (McPherson, Kan.) was Binghamton's other player in
double figures with 11 points.
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