Sophomore guard Jimmy Gray's only basket of the game led the Bearcats to a 70-69 victory over Manhattan on Dec. 11.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Men’s basketball snaps skid with victory at ManhattanTweet
In front of a boisterous pro-Binghamton crowd on the road, sophomore guard Jimmy Gray hit the game-winning shot with 4.5 seconds left to give the Bearcats (2-6) a riveting 70-69 win over Manhattan (2-8) on Dec. 11 from Draddy Gymnasium in Riverdale.
The Jaspers were off the mark with a contested three-pointer at the buzzer, allowing Binghamton to snap a six-game losing skid and delight more than 300 faithful alumni and fans in attendance.
Trailing 69-68 in the closing seconds, reserve guard Gray broke for the basket behind a back screen from senior forward Mahamoud Jabbi, took a pass from senior forward Greer Wright over the top of the defense and while in mid-air, converted the eight-footer off the backboard. The Bearcats, who hadn’t scored in more than three minutes, earned the final possession when the Jaspers turned it over with 7.1 seconds left on an errant inbound pass. After a Binghamton timeout and with the defense keying on leading scorer Wright, the play went to Gray, who delivered on his only field goal of the game.
“We ran a misdirection play drawn up on our bench and it worked,” head coach Mark Macon said of the final play.
Jabbi sparked an 18-4 run midway through the second half with two three-pointers and Binghamton led 68-62 on a Wright jam with 3:12 remaining. But Manhattan scored seven straight points and seemed poised to sneak out the win until the turnover and ensuing heroics from Gray, who scored a career-high 18 points in the loss to Hofstra three days earlier and is quickly gaining confidence on the floor.
Jabbi hit 8-of-10 from the floor, including 4-of-6 three-pointers, and matched his career-high with the 20 points. He entered the game having made just two three-pointers in his first 38 career games at Binghamton.
Senior forward Moussa Camara drilled 5-of-8 three-pointers en route to a 17-point performance. The five treys tied his career high. Wright and sophomore forward Taylor Johnston added nine points apiece and guard Chretien Lukusa chipped in seven points and a career-high eight assists.
Binghamton hit 13-of-30 three-pointers and shot 49 percent for the game.
“We’re happy to get the win and we needed it,” Macon said. “Now we need to make winning a habit. A lot of guys hit shots so that was nice to see. Moussa was due ... he’s been working hard and the shots finally started to fall for him. We are turning the page now and moving on to Cornell.”
A fast-paced first half gave the Bearcats a season-high midway output of 39 points, but Manhattan’s 13-of-15 free throws gave the hosts a 44-39 lead at the break. The Jaspers withstood nine Binghamton three-pointers - four by Camara - and used a wide rebound margin and a pair of 7-0 runs to forge the five-point advantage. Jabbi scored seven of the Bearcats’ first 10 points out of the gate and Johnston matched his career high with nine points in the opening 20 minutes.