Release: January 31, 2009
VESTAL, N.Y. -- Junior guard D.J. Rivera (19.8 ppg.) scored a game-high 23 points and sparked a second-half rally to lead Binghamton (13-8, 6-3 AE) to an 83-77 victory over Maine (8-13, 3-5 AE) Saturday afternoon at the Events Center. The game marked the five-year anniversary of the arena, and a record crowd of 4,923 celebrated BU's eighth win in 10 home games and ninth win in the last 13 games.
With BU struggling on offense and trailing by 14 points early in the second half, Rivera led a 25-7 run that turned a 47-33 Maine lead with 17:09 left into a 58-54 BU lead 6:16 later. Rivera scored nine points during the run and the Bearcats held Maine without a field goal for 8:01 to forge ahead.
Lifted by the boisterous record crowd, BU held the lead after the big run, though the Black Bears kept within striking distance until the final minute. With BU clinging to a 71-70 lead inside three minutes, junior guard Malik Alvin drilled a deep three from the left wing with 2:38 left, giving BU a two-possession cushion. Rivera hit a layup in traffic with 47 seconds left and the Bearcats sank 5-of-6 free throws in the final 37 seconds to ice the win.
"I'll take the win but I'm not satisfied," head coach Kevin Broadus said. "We only played 20 minutes of basketball. We have to play a full 40 minutes to be up there with the best teams in the conference. It was a great defensive effort in the second half. We're growing and taking steps in the right direction."
Binghamton shot 54% in the second half to shake off a sluggish first half in which the team made just nine field goals and committed 10 turnovers. Maine opened the game with a 16-4 run that quickly quieted the crowd. The Bearcats battled back to single-digits and trailed 40-31 at the break.
The Bearcats travel to Burlington on Wednesday for a key matchup against first place Vermont.
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