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Bearcats fall on the road at Hartford, 65-51

Box Score

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - Host Hartford (11-10, 6-4 AE) closed the game on a 16-4 run, and improved to 8-1 at home with a 65-51 win over Binghamton (11-9, 6-4 AE) Thursday night. Both teams are tied for third place in the America East Conference.

The Bearcats suffered through two significant dry spells, offensively, and each time the Hawks made them pay. With BU ahead 18-11 midway through the first half, Hartford exploded for a 19-1 run that spanned 6:51 and turned a seven-point deficit into a 30-19 lead with 3:16 left. In all, Binghamton went 7:57 without a field goal. Hartford shot 52% in the period, and took a 36-26 lead into intermission.

In the second half, BU battled back, twice closing the margin to a deuce. A three-pointer from senior guard Anthony Green (Philadelphia, Pa./Germantown) cut the margin to two, 49-47, with 8:20 left. But the Hawks responded with five straight points, and held BU without a field goal over the game's final 8:20.

"Hartford was the better team tonight," BU head coach Al Walker said. "We didn't lose, we got beat by a heck of a basketball team. I'm proud of our guys. We fought hard, but the door just closed in the final minutes. We just couldn't get it to go down."

Binghamton's typically sharp guard combination of Green and senior Charles Baker (Missouri City, Texas/Westbury Christian) struggled from the floor, making just 5-of-20 shots. And BU's defense, which entered the game ranked 15th in the entire nation in opponent field goal percentage (39.3%), couldn't contain the Hawks, who shot 52% from the floor. On the offensive end, the Bearcats were hurt by nine missed free throws and 38% shooting.

Binghamton sophomore center Nick Billings (Kodiak, Alaska) kept the Bearcats in the game with a career-high 17 points - 11 of those coming in the first half. Billings also chipped in nine rebounds and three blocks. His second rejection of the game established a new school single-season record. As a freshman, Billings recorded 80 blocks to set the mark.

The Bearcats will host league-leading Boston University Sunday at noon at West Gym. The game is the America East TV Game of the Week, and will be broadcast live on Empire Sports Network, MSG and NESN.

NOTES: Binghamton is now 2-14 on the road dating back to January 10, 2002 ... Both of those wins have come this season, with the Bearcats defeating Long Island and New Hampshire away from West Gymnasium ... BU has lost its last four road games since the 80-50 win over New Hampshire on January 2 ... Nick Billings scored in double figures for the seventh time this season and 10th time in his career.

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