Release: February 26, 2009
VESTAL, N.Y. -- Binghamton (20-8, 13-3 AE) put five players in double figures and defeated UMBC (12-16, 6-9 AE) 71-51 Thursday night in front of another sellout Events Center crowd of 5,222. The win clinched the school's first men's basketball regular season conference title in 63 years of competition, gave BU the top seed for the upcoming America East Championship and guaranteed the program's first Division I postseason bid in either the NCAA or NIT tournament.
"That was one of the toughest 40 minutes I've been a part of," head coach Kevin Broadus said. "I'm so proud of our guys. We worked very hard to win this regular season title, but we're not finished."
The Bearcats will open the America East tournament against the winner of the 8/9 first-round game between Maine and Hartford in a March 7 quarterfinal. Binghamton will play the first game of the evening session, a 6 p.m. start at Albany's SEFCU Arena.
Junior guard Emanuel Mayben scored a a game-high 18 points and added five assists and three steals. Junior guard D.J. Rivera, the leading scorer in the conference and player of the year candidate, added 14 points. Senior forward Reggie Fuller delivered 12 points, four blocks and a school-record 16 rebounds.
Junior guard Malik Alvin and sophomore guard Chretien Lukusa added 12 and 10 points, respectively.
After a tight first half in which neither team shot the ball very well, BU scored the final seven points of the period to stake itself to a 27-19 lead. Mayben had 12 of his points during the half, hitting 5-of-8 from the floor. Binghamton led 36-31 five minutes into the second half before an 8-0 run stretched the margin to double figures. UMBC got no closer than eight points the rest of the way as BU shot 58% and converted 13-of-18 free throws.
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