Extra-Time a Charm Again--Men's Basketball Outlasts Binghamton, 83-79 in "RAC in Black" OT Affair

Brian Neller led all scorers with 21 points vs. the Bearcats.
Brian Neller led all scorers with 21 points vs. the Bearcats.

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BALTIMORE—UMBC junior guard Brian Neller (Red Bank, N.J.) led all scorers with 21 points and paced five teammates in double figures, as the Retrievers posted a dramatic 83-79 overtime victory over visiting Binghamton.

UMBC snapped a three-game slide and improved to 4-19 and 3-7 in America East play, while Binghamton (6-17, 3-7) fell for the seventh consecutive time.  The last three losses have been by a total of 12 points.

Neller was UMBC's America East Player of the Game, while Binghamton senior forward Moussa Camara earned the honor for the visitors. Camara, who hit his first six three-point attempts of the night, finished with 20 points.

The game featured 16 lead changes and seven ties.  Binghamton appeared to win in regulation in bizarre fashion as UMBC's Chris De La Rosa, the league's top point guard, lost control of the ball with 10 seconds left and fouled Binghamton's Greer Wright driving to the basket. Wright sunk two free throws with 7.3 seconds left to give the Bearcats a 73-71 advantage.

But UMBC forward Laurence Jolicoeur (Queens, N.Y.) pumped fake Wright on the other end, and drew a foul while attempting  a three-point field goal with 1.7 seconds left. Jolicoeur, the league's fourth-best free throw shooter at 83 percent, made two of three to send the game to overtime.

UMBC never trailed in the extra session, taking the lead for good on two free throws by postJustin Fry (New Bloomfield, Pa.) with 3:03 to play. Fry added a layup on the next possession to give UMBC a 79-75 lead with 2:16 to play.

Wright countered with a field goal with 58 seconds left and the Bearcats had a chance to tie or take the lead in the final 12 seconds, but guards Jimmy Gray and Robert Mansell missed shots inside the paint. Retriever guard Travis King snared the second rebounds and hit two free throws with eight 8 seconds to play. After Binghamton's K.J. Brown hit a driving layup with three seconds left, Jolicoeur buried a pair of free throws with 1.7 seconds left to provide the final margin of victory.

UMBC won its seventh decision in eight overtime affairs in eight seasons of America East play. The Retrievers defeated Hartford, 74-70, in double overtime two weeks ago.

Neller, making his second career start, hit five of ten shots from behind the arc, in a career-high 40 minutes of action. King hit six of seven shots from the floor, both three-point attempts and all three free throw attempts, scoring 17 points in 23 minutes.  Freshman post Chase Plummer (Elizabeth, N.J.) added 12 points, while Fry and De La Rosa pitching in with 10 apiece.

UMBC led by as many as nine points at 25-16 with 8:37 to play in the first half, but Binghamton buried  seven of its first 10 attempts from behind the arc and trimmed the deficit to 38-36 at intermission.

The Retrievers built a 48-43 lead early in the second half, but Binghamton went on a 14-2 run and gained a 57-50 advantage with 10:39 to play.  UMBC managed to battle back and tied the game at 67-all on  a King layup with 5:30 remaining.

Binghamton hit 12 of 23 shots from behind the arc (52.2 percent), but just 16 of 40 inside the arc to finish at 44.4 percent for the game. UMBC converted 45.7 percent from the floor (32 of 70) and committed only seven turnovers.

The win snapped a UMBC five-game losing streak to the Bearcats.

The Retrievers travel to Maine for a contest with the second-place Black Bears on Super Bowl Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

Justin Fry: Super Senior
March 1, 2011 Justin Fry: Super Senior