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Men’s Basketball’s double-digit comeback not enough to beat Binghamton

The University of Maine Men’s Basketball team hosted the Binghamton University Bearcats at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on Saturday afternoon. The 1,287 fans in attendance sparked the Black Bears’ second-half comeback, but they couldn’t maintain the lead and lost the game 51-50. 

The Black Bears started off strong, as second-year guard Jayden Clayton scored the game’s first basket with a fadeaway mid-range jumper towards the baseline. A steal by third-year guard Kellen Tynes immediately followed this. 

Liv Schanck | The Maine Campus

The Bearcats would eventually tie the game at two points with a jump shot from the free throw line by fourth-year forward Tariq Balogun. After a series of missed shots, offensive fouls, and turnovers by the Black Bears, Binghamton started the game up 8-2. Nine minutes into the game, the Bearcats extended their lead to 15-4. Fourth-year guard Armon Harried scored six of those points and assisted on one. The highest-scorer of the game, Harried, had 15 points added on eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals. 

Maine struggled to hit their shots and attack the basket, partially caused by Binghamton’s tough defense. The Bearcats forced 12 turnovers and were very effective perimeter defenders. A 3-pointer by Maine’s Jayden Clayton scored 19-11 in favor of Binghamton, but the Bearcats responded quickly. Fourth-year forward Nehemiah Benson was dominating the paint and scored two layups. He finished the game with 12 points for the Bearcats. 

Liv Schanck | The Maine Campus

One of the only bright spots of the first half was a huge block by Black Bear fifth-year forward Adam Cisse. Cisse had four blocks in the first half and ended up with five. However, he left the game late in the second half with what appeared to be a leg injury. 

The Black Bears headed to the locker room at halftime with the score 28-19, as a late Jayden Clayton jumper cut the Binghamton lead to single digits. Maine struggled as they had more turnovers than field goals in the first half. They shot 6-23 from the field in the first 20 minutes while going 1-5 from beyond the three-point line. 

It was pretty evident Maine would need a quick offensive start in the second half to have any chance at a comeback, and that’s exactly what happened. They started the half on a six-zero run in the first three minutes, and the score was eventually 30-28 with 14 minutes to go. Black Bear’s fourth-year forward, Peter Filipovity, scored four of those points. 

Back-and-forth baskets were traded off between the teams in the following minutes, with third-year guard Quion Burns leading the charge for the Black Bears. Burns scored some tough buckets and totaled 13 points while shooting an efficient 5-7 in the afternoon.

With eight minutes left to play, Binghamton committed traveling violations on back-to-back offensive possessions, giving Maine much-needed momentum. Jayden Clayton made a deep two-point jump shot and a layup with under 5 minutes remaining. This gave the Black Bears the lead for the first time in the game since the opening basket made it 2-0, and the home crowd loved it. 

But a quick 5-0 Binghamton run engineered by Armon Harried electrified the Bearcats bench and silenced the crowd. Maine’s second-year head coach Chris Markwood called timeout with just over 3 minutes left, scoring 47-43 Binghamton. 

After misses on both ends, Kellen Tynes made a great hustle play for the Black Bears. He snagged an offensive rebound and kicked the ball out to Jayden Clayton, who assisted a clutch Ja’Shonte Wright-McLeish 3-point basket with 2 minutes to go. On the other end, Symir Torrence knocked down two important free throws with a minute remaining to make the score 49-46 Binghamton. Maine responded right away as Kellen Tynes drove to the basket, stopped, pump faked, and then drilled a smooth mid-range floater to make a one-point game once again. 

The Black Bears then got a much-needed stop with 32 seconds left as Harried missed a contested three-point shot. With a chance to take the lead and potentially win the game, Maine’s Jayden Clayton was fouled with 12 seconds left.

Liv Schanck | The Maine Campus

Clayton made both free throws to give him 15 points on the day and give the Black Bears a 50-49 lead. 

Binghamton’s Head Coach Levell Sanders called a timeout to call one last play for his team. The Bearcats advanced the ball up the floor, where Symir Torrence avoided a double team, and then hit a floating layup to give Binghamton a 51-50 lead with 4.8 seconds remaining. 

Markwood called his last timeout for the Black Bears, and they drew up a game-winning shot. Graduate student guard Ja’Shonte Wright-McLeish scored five points and inbounded the ball to Kellen Tynes, who raced up the floor. He dished it back to Wright-McLeish, who launched a 3-point attempt that hit the rim as time expired. 

After an intense and hard-fought comeback attempt, there was an anticlimactic ending for the Black Bears, and the final was 51-50 in favor of Binghamton. The Bearcats picked up their first America East victory of the season, improving their record in those games to 1-5. 

The Black Bears played a disappointing game to end their home stand in what has felt like a promising season. They scored a season-low of 50 points on 34.8% shooting. Their record dropped to 10-11 overall and 2-4 in America East games. They continue their America East conference play on Thursday, Feb. 1, at UMass

Lowell, who is 5-1 in America East games. Keys to the game for the Black Bears will be improved defensive intensity and fewer turnovers.

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