VESTAL, N.Y. (AP)—Robert Mansell scored 18 points and Binghamton held off Vermont 57-53 to win its first game of the season Tuesday night, snapping a 27-game losing streak and shedding the dubious distinction of being the only winless team in Division I.
“To see the happiness on their faces was uplifting,” said Bearcats coach Mark Macon.
Binghamton students stormed the floor at the Events Center after a game in which the Bearcats took the lead at 4-2 and never relinquished it, ending the Catamounts’ 10-game winning streak.
Ben Dickinson added 16 points and 11 rebounds for Binghamton (1-26, 1-13 America East Conference), which avenged a 73-53 loss to Vermont on Jan. 12.
The Catamounts (19-11, 12-3), who fell to second place in the league standings behind Stony Brook, came in with a five-game winning streak against the Bearcats and a 19-6 edge in the all-time series.
Matt Glass scored 16 points to lead Vermont and Brian Voelkel grabbed 11 rebounds.
In the first half, Binghamton outshot the Catamounts 53.8 percent (14 of 26) to 31.8 percent (7 of 22) to lead 35-25 at the break.
The Bearcats stretched the lead to 12 in the second half, including 49-37 with 8:15 to go. Vermont chipped away and got within two points twice in the final 2:13, the last time at 55-53 with 49 seconds left.
Jimmy Gray, who finished with 10 points, hit two free throws with 4 seconds remaining to seal it.
“We are going to bask in this game and then we’re moving on to get ready for Albany,” said Macon, whose team has remaining regular-season games against Albany (N.Y.) on Thursday and at New Hampshire on Sunday.
“It’s a great win for these players, who have given so much this year and play hard every night.”
Binghamton had not won a game since March 3, a 91-65 win over Maryland-Baltimore County in the first round of the America East Conference tournament. Binghamton lost to Vermont 57-46 in the next round—the Bearcats’ final game of the season—and the skid began.
“We’ve been right there the last two to three weeks … we expect to win every game and it could’ve been anybody tonight,” Macon said. “Our guys played to win and played the entire 40 minutes. I have to applaud them.”
Despite its losing record, Binghamton still leads the America East in attendance, and has for nine straight years. The attendance Tuesday night was 2,427 for a season average of 2,722. The next best in the league is Albany at 2,636.