Release: November 29, 2008
VESTAL, N.Y. -- Playing his first game of the season, junior guard Malik Alvin scored seven points in the final 1:26 to spark Binghamton (2-2) to a 73-66 win over visiting Utah Valley (4-1) Saturday afternoon at the Events Center. Alvin led five Bearcats in double figures as they pinned the first loss of the season on the Wolverines and remained unbeaten at home (2-0).
Binghamton, which led by as many as 12 points midway through the second half, saw its lead dwindle to just one, 62-61, with 2:43 left before Alvin asserted himself. After a BU free throw made it 63-61, Alvin drained a three-pointer near the top of the key with 1:26 left. Then on Utah Valley's next possession, the 6-foot guard leaped high to block a three-point attempt from the corner. Alvin then secured the win by converting 4-of-4 free throws in the final 24 seconds.
"We're taking baby steps, and I'm proud of these guys today," head coach Kevin Broadus said. "It was a hard fought battle. This team was 4-0 coming in here, we didn't back down and we put them on their heels the whole game. We had a good effort from seven guys today. We said we were going to cut the rotation. Seven guys came to play, they played hard and they played together."
Junior guard D.J. Rivera scored a team-high 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting. It was the third time in four games that Rivera has reached the 20-point mark. Senior forward Dwayne Jackson netted 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting and the other two Bearcats in double figures were junior point guard Emanuel Mayben (11 pts., 5 assists) and senior forward Reggie Fuller (10 pts., 8 rebs.).
Broadus was quick to praise Alvin, who was reinstated to the program on Friday.
"It's amazing what one guy can do, bringing a change in tempo," Broadus said. "The little guy came out and played well, and everybody else rallied around him."
In the first half, BU trailed 13-12 with 8:32 to play before embarking on an 11-0 run to build a 23-13 cushion with 4:24 left. Jackson scored five points during the run. Binghamton, which led 30-19 at the break, then played a sharp second half, hitting hitting 58% of its shots and 11-of-12 free throws. .
Utah Valley was led by Ryan Toolson, who scored a game-high 21 points. Toolson, who ranks second in the country in scoring (29.0 ppg.), scored 19 of those points in the second half.
Binghamton next travels to Hamden, Conn. to face Quinnipiac on Monday night.
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