Binghamton has proved to be a bit of a hassle to some of the teams in the top half of the standings. They gave Albany a scare on their home court before the Danes pulled away with the win in the last few minutes. The same thing happened on Hartford's home court before they took back the lead in overtime.
The first few minutes of the game didn't go as Hartford planed. They missed their first four shots and committed five turnovers before Taylor Dyson's trey gave them their first lead of the game at 15-13.
Binghamton's star player, Jordan Reed, seemed to be cold at first, only scoring four points in the first half. What Hartford wasn't expecting was the explosion that happened after they both hit the floor for a fresh 20 minutes. Reed ended the game with career-high 33 points.
"You have to give Coach Dempsey and that group credit. That's a fierce group that I'm excited to watch them play and I hope it's not us in the first round, but that was the best overall game I've seen Jordan Reed play... That's the best basketball game I've seen him play in his career." said Hartford head coach John Gallagher
With 12:13 left in the second half, Evan Cooper was fouled making a layup. Unfortunately his elbow gave out as he fell and his face hit the floor. Thankfully he only needed a few stitches and was able to get back on the court for the last few minutes of the second half, giving Hartford a crucial five points that gave them a 72-69 lead with five seconds remaining in regulation.
What no one could foresee was Yosef Yacob, who went 2-13 the entire night, to hit his only three of the night right at the buzzer to tie the game and send it into overtime. It looked like Binghamton actually had a chance.
"I knew that for us to have a chance to win he [Reed] was gonna have to guard Mark... That was a classic battle of two of the best players in this league." said Binghamton head Coach Tommy Dempsey
Hartford didn't let Binghamton's comeback get into their heads. They kept the lead throughout overtime. Wes Cole's trey with 22 seconds left brought the Hawks on top 85-81, sealing the win.
"I think one of our biggest strengths is our mentality. When it's crunch time we always stay poise and just execute." said Mark Nwakamma
Coach Gallagher, while not too happy at some of the mistakes made during the game, is incredibly proud of how far the team has come. This win ties the most wins they school has had in back to back seasons with 32.
"Good teams lose that game, teams that are becoming great win that game. They don't get rattled." said Gallagher
Both Hartford and Binghamton have one game left before the conference tournament. The Bearcats host the regular season champions, Vermont on Sunday while Hartford hosts UMBC for their final showdown, hoping to grab the three seed spot with the win.