The Stony Brook men’s basketball team’s chances of clinching a high seed for the America East conference tournament took a hit with a 69-57 road loss to the Binghamton Bearcats Thursday night at the Events Center.
Redshirt-sophomore forward Akwasi Yeboah scored a team-high of 18 points and also grabbed a team-high of 10 rebounds, but Binghamton’s sophomore guard Fard Muhammad scored a game-high of 22 points and hauled in eight rebounds of his own. Muhammad’s efficient shooting night helped the Bearcats, a one-win conference team, pick apart the Seawolves.
“I thought this would be an energy game for us,” head coach Jeff Boals said in a press release. “Binghamton plays better at home than on the road, so getting out to a good start was a big key for us, but they went up 14-4 and we looked like we were just going through the motions. We just couldn’t get over the hump multiple times and missed some easy ones in the paint.”
Binghamton started the game on a 14-4 run over the first eight minutes of the game. Senior forward Junior Saintel scored seven of his nine points in a row midway through the first half to cut the deficit to one point. The teams continued to trade baskets until Binghamton went on a 9-3 run over the final three minutes of the first half to go up 32-26 heading into halftime.
Back-and-forth play ensued once the second half kicked off. The Seawolves cut the Bearcat lead to four twice during the opening minutes of the half, but the Bearcats strung together a run that put them up by double digits with 13:48 left in the game. Stony Brook, again, tried to dig themselves out of a hole, at one point trailing by six before Binghamton strung together several baskets in a row to seemingly put Stony Brook away.
Stony Brook went to the free-throw line seven times in the final three minutes and made six shots, something the team has struggled with in the past. The team ranks last in the conference in free throw shooting at 64 percent. However, while they were living at the free throw line, Binghamton was doing the same thing, shooting and making their free throws in the final minutes. The Seawolves were unable to use the points from the charity stripe to spark a final last-minute run and went on to lose the game.
With the loss, the Seawolves find themselves with a 5-8 conference record, good for sixth place in the current America East men’s basketball standings. Vermont sits atop the conference, still undefeated and has not lost an America East conference game since 2016. UMBC sits behind Vermont with a 9-3 conference record, followed by Hartford, Albany, New Hampshire then Stony Brook. UMass Lowell, Maine and Binghamton round out the bottom three teams.
Stony Brook will try to right the ship and jump up in the conference standings when the team returns to the Island Federal Credit Union Arena to host New Hampshire on Sunday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m.