Release: January 13, 2007
Contact: Anthony G. Naglieri (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Men's basketball drops third straight league game at Maine, 69-64
Bearcats fall to 1-4 in America East play
ORONO, MAINE - Senior forward Chris Bruff recorded his first career double-double with 19 points and a game-high 12 rebounds to lead a strong shooting effort by host Maine (6-11, 1-4 AE) in a 69-64 victory over Binghamton (8-9, 1-4 America East) on Saturday afternoon in an America East Conference men's basketball game from Alfond Arena. The loss is the Bearcats' fourth in their last five games.
Bruff finished 8-of-12 from the floor and shared game-high scoring honors with senior guard Kevin Reed, who also had 19, 13 of which came in the first half of play. The Black Bears shot 51.1 percent from the floor for the game.
Leading 40-38 at the 15:44 mark, Maine used a 8-2 run to pull ahead 48-40. The Bearcats responded with a 5-0 spurt of their own to pull within three, 48-45, but the Black Bears quickly ran off six straight to stretch the lead to nine, 54-45, their largest lead of the afternoon.
Binghamton pulled to within three points with 3:43 remaining, 59-56, with an 11-5 run keyed by the strong play of senior forward Duane James (Miami, Fla.), who scored five of his 11 points during the stretch. The Bearcats, however, failed to capitalize on some poor Maine foul shooting down the stretch (11-24 in the second half), and never able to string together the timely buckets needed to erase the deficit.
Junior point guard Mike Gordon (Plainfield, N.J.) hit a three with 28.7 seconds to keep the Bearcats' hopes alive at 67-64, but freshman Junior Bernal had a breakaway layup to ice it for the Black Bears.
BU's shooting struggles continued as the team shot 34.4% (22-64) from the floor and 26.9% from three-point range (7-26). on the afternoon.
"We battled today which was a good sign for us," head coach Al Walker said. "It was a good effort, but we couldn't execute when we needed to down the stretch."
Binghamton came out flat, committing five early turnovers, and quickly found themselves in an early 11-3 hole just five minutes into the first stanza as the host Black Bears hit four of their first five field goals to begin the contest. The Bearcats quickly found their legs, however, and began to clamp down on the defensive end as a three pointer from senior guard Troy Hailey (Hyattsville, Md.) sparked a 10-2 run to even things up at 15-15.
The two teams went back and forth exchanging runs over the final 10 minutes of the half. Maine's Reed connected on his third three-pointer of the half with only 31 seconds remaining to give the host Black Bears a 35-33 edge headed into the break. For the fifth straight game, Maine shot at least 50% in the first frame, however, a very active Bearcats squad forced14 Black Bear turnovers leading to 21 points the other way.
Binghamton put three players in double figures, led by Lazar Trifunovic (Belgrade, Serbia) and Hailey who each finished with 14 points. Trifunovic also addded a team-high eight rebounds in the losing effort.
Binghamton concludes a four-game, seven-day stretch when it travels to Hartford on Monday evening for a 7 p.m. tip-off.
Chris Bruff and Duane James were selected as the America East Players of the Game ... BU is now 7-6 in the all-time series against Maine Gordon has now started 60 consecutive games. He also has now recorded at least one assist in 51 straight games Sophomore Jaan Montgomery (Waterloo, Ontario) had a career-high four points surpassing his previous best of three, set earlier this season against Akron ... Hailey is 22 points (978) from becoming the 17th member of BU's 1,000 point club and the first at the DI level.
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