Binghamton tops UMBC for AEC crown and first NCAA bid
Binghamton, NY (Sports Network) - Reggie Fuller notched a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while D.J. Rivera added 16 points, as Binghamton punched a ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the first time with a 61-51 victory over UMBC in the America East Conference Tournament final.
Malik Alvin chipped in 14 points for the Bearcats (23-8), who will enter the NCAA Tournament with an 11-game winning streak, currently bested nationally by just American and Memphis.
Rich Flemming put together a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double and Darryl Proctor added 12 points for UMBC (15-17), which entered the conference tournament after just a 7-9 league mark during the regular season but downed Boston University and Albany to reach the final. The Retrievers were the defending tournament champions.
Rivera's jumper got the second-half scoring started, handing the home-standing Bearcats a 38-27 edge. The advantage grew as high as 14, but the Retrievers whittled that deficit in half to 54-47 on Flemming's short jumper with just under nine minutes remaining.
Chauncey Gilliam's two free throws just over four minutes later made the score 57-51, but UMBC didn't score from that point forward. It missed its last six shots and committed three key turnovers down the stretch.
Fuller and Alvin each made two free throws in the final minute to create the final margin.
The Bearcats went on a 10-4 scoring stretch to take an early seven-point edge at 16-9. Fuller's slam and Alvin's trey capped the burst just over six minutes in. The edge grew to 10 points at 29-19 on a fastbreak slam by Alvin, and the lead stood at 36-27 after 20 minutes of action.
Gilliam scored 10 points in defeat...Binghamton shot 42.1 percent from the floor, while UMBC made 37.9 percent of its shots and held its only lead in the game's opening seconds...The clubs split a pair of regular-season meetings.
03/14 13:31:05 ET