Freshman guard Brian Hodges buried a three-point shot with 1.2 seconds remaining to give host UMBC a stunning 61-59 win over Binghamton in an America East Conference contest played before a sparse crowd at the RAC Arena. A heavy snow during the daylight hours held the crowd to 427 fans.
The Retrievers, now 5-0 in games decided by six points or less, improved to 8-9 overall and 3-5 in league play, while Binghamton fell to 5-12, 2-6. UMBC has eclipsed its win total (7-21) of a year ago.
The visiting Bearcats controlled the game from the outset, and never trailed until Hodges’ game-winning shot. They hit 10 of their first 12 shots from the floor, and eventually built a 14-point advantage at 27-13 with to play in the first half. Binghamton settled for a 35-27 lead at intermission and still maintained a 10-point advantage at 57-47 with to play.
But like their sister schools, Stony Brook and Albany (UMBC’s other two conference wins) , Binghamton also fell victim to a furious Retriever comeback. Senior center Andrew Feeley hit 6 of 6 free throws to key the rally, and Binghamton’s Sebastian Hermenier missed the front end of three “one-and-one” situations in the final . Feeley’s last two free throws cut the gap to 59-58 with 47 seconds to go and Hermenier missed the front end with 27 seconds remaining.
It appeared as though UMBC had taken the lead with 7.7 seconds left, but the Retrievers took time out before Cory McJimson hit a 12-foot jumper. After Binghamton batted away UMBC’s first inbounds attempt, Hodges came off a series of three screens and swished a 21-footer from the left wing.
Binghamton’s Nick Billings was off the mark with a desperation three at the buzzer.
Hodges, who scored a team-high 14 points in UMBC’s 67-62 win over Albany on Wednesday, had only hit 3 of 8 from the floor until he hit the game-winner. “Coach tells us that if you miss, shoot the next shot like it’s your first of the night,” said the freshman guard, who finished the night with 10 points. “I was confident on that shot, and luckily, it went in.”
Junior forward John Zito came off the bench and led UMBC with 14 points on 7 of 11 shooting from the field. Senior guard Rob Gogerty, who fed Hodges on the game-winner, added 10 points and 4 assists, as he moved into fifth place on UMBC’s all-time assists list.
Junior guard Andre Heard led Binghamton with 13 points, but was just 6 of 17 from the floor. Billings and fellow post player Alex Adediran had 10 points each for the Bearcats, who shots 53.6% (15/28) in the first half, but just 11 of 32 (34.4%) in the final 20 minutes.
UMBC hit 12 of 13 free throw attempts, while Binghamton converted only 3 of 7.