Binghamton University men’s basketball team continued its surprising run through the America East schedule with a 69-60 victory over the University of Maine on Saturday afternoon at Dr. Bai Lee Court at the Events Center in Vestal, New York.
The Bearcats, picked to finish last in this season’s America East preseason coaches poll, are now 10-10 overall and ranks second in the conference standings with a 7-4 record after its second victory of the winter over UMaine.
The Black Bears absorbed their fifth straight loss and are now 4-18 overall, 1-10 in America East play. UMaine also is 0-12 on the road heading into its next game on Wednesday night at UAlbany.
Junior guard Ja’Shonte Wright-McLeish scored a career-high 20 points to go with four assists for UMaine and redshirt junior forward Stephane Ingo matched his career scoring best with 16 points along with five blocked shots, four rebounds and two steals.
Sophomore guard Vukasin Masic added 10 points and six assists for the Black Bears.
Binghamton was coming off a big road win at Stony Brook earlier in the week and missed its first 12 shots from the field against UMaine before rallying to take a 24-23 halftime edge.
The Bearcats then shot 65 percent from the field after intermission to pull away, with Jacob Falko scoring 13 of his team-high 18 points after the break and sparking an 11-2 run that stretched a one-point margin to double digits early in the second half.
Binghamton extended its advantage to as many as 17 points at 65-48 on a short jumper by Falko with 4:36 left in the game before UMaine rallied in the final two minutes.
“It’s always tough to get wins, especially in a league like ours where there isn’t much separation between the teams,” first-year Binghamton head coach Levell Sanders said. “Maine played zone and a lot of times it makes the offensive team passive and that’s exactly what happened to us in the first half. Instead of attacking, we were passive.
“But in the second half John (McGriff) did a good job of pushing tempo, attacking and getting easy shots. And our defense held us the whole game.”
George Tinsley came off the bench to add a season-high 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field to go with five rebounds for Binghamton, which has won four of its last five games. Tyler Bertram scored 12 points and Dan Petcash had 11 for the Bearcats.