Immediate Release: January 19, 2004
The Bearcats shook off a miserable first half (where they scored just 18 points) with 59% shooting over the final 20 minutes, and used a 26-8 run to forge a tie with less than five minutes remaining. The teams were tied at 54-54 with 2:15 to play before the host Hawks scored four straight points to regain the lead for good. Senior guard Brett Watson (Wichita, Kan.) sank a pair of free throws with 49 seconds left to trim the deficit to a pair, 58-56, and then junior forward Alex Adediran (Covington, Ga.) grabbed the rebound off a second Hartford miss at the free throw line, giving BU a chance to tie or win the game in the final 15 seconds. The Bearcats called a timeout, and had to use another with 4.6 seconds left when senior guard Brandon Carter (McPherson, Kan.) was trapped on the side after nearly 10 seconds had burned off the clock. On the team's final attempt, Watson inbounded to Adediran up high, but the 6-foot-7 post player was stripped of the ball, and the Hawks tacked on the final bucket as the horn sounded.
"We had a nice play drawn up, but we missed an assignment," head coach Al Walker said. "It's very hard to come back the way we did and still lose. We got more competitive in the second half - committing only five turnovers (to 12 in the first half), but we've got to play better."
Watson played a pivotal role in the comeback. The veteran scored 10 of his game-high and season-high 13 points in the second half, and wound up hitting 3-of-4 from three-point range and adding three steals on the defensive end.
"I think it was Brett's best game in quite a while," Walker said. "He did a great job, and commanded more minutes on the floor."
Carter added 12 points, and junior center Nick Billings (Kodiak, Alaska) chipped in 10 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.
Binghamton shot 59% in the second half, but Hartford responded with 56% accuracy. The Bearcats missed eight free throws on the game (11-of-19), and left three more on the table with misses of front ends of three 1-and-1 opportunities - two of which came in the game's final six minutes.
The Bearcats dug themselves a first half hole after managing just one field goal in a 13-minute span midway through the opening period. Hartford used a 19-3 run to take control of the game. In the early stages of the second half, the Hawks built a 43-25 lead before BU staged its rally. Carter and Watson drained three-pointers 1:35 apart, and the pair combined for 17 of BU's 26 points during the run, which climaxed with an Adediran layup that tied the score at 51-51 with 4:46 to play. During that stretch, BU held the Hawks without a field goal for 9:44.
The game's closing 10 seconds were reminiscent of the New Hampshire game just two days earlier, when BU trailed by two with the ball but couldn't make the game-tying basket in the frantic closing seconds.
Binghamton now heads to Boston, where the team will face Northeastern on Wednesday night.
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