VESTAL, N.Y. – Senior Obadiah Noel (Frederick, Md.) notched 17 points on 71% shooting to lead a balanced attack for the UMass Lowell River Hawks men’s basketball team (6-8, 5-5 AE) in a 77-67 victory at Binghamton (1-12, 1-9 AE) on Sunday afternoon.
The River Hawks, who led by as many as 18 in the contest, staved off a late Bearcat attack that put the differential at just seven with less than two minutes to go. Graduate student Salif Boudie (Bamako, Mali) pulled down an important defensive board and redshirt-sophomore Bryce Daley (Pittsfield, Mass.) closed it out at the foul line to seal the outcome.
With the decision, the River Hawks picked up their first America East series sweep of the season and have now won four of their last five games. Boudie added to the offensive effort with 16 points in the outing. Sophomore Kalil Thomas (New Orleans, La.) set a new personal best with four, three-point field goals en route to 14 points, while classmate Connor Withers (Manassas, Va.) chipped in with 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Daley matched a career record with seven assists, as well.
“This was another hard-fought road win with a lot of key contributions from different players,” said Head Coach Pat Duquette. “We need to continue to improve defensively and learn how to play with a lead.”
The board was even three times in the first five minutes before George Tinsley scored five in a row for the Bearcats. The River Hawks were quick to respond, though, as Daley sparked a string of 10 unanswered points for the squad that was capped off by triples from junior Allin Blunt (Bowie, Md.) and Noel to make the score 22-17 in favor of the visitors with 10:56 remaining in the first half.
Buckets from Thomas kept UMass Lowell in front for the next five minutes, but Binghamton worked to regain a two-possession edge late in the period. However, threes from Withers and Thomas would bookend free throws from Noel to turn the game back in favor of the River Hawks, 37-33, at 1:27. Then in the last minute, Noel was sent back to the line and Thomas closed out the half 4-for-4 from long range to put their team on top, 42-35, at the break.
Withers scored six of the River Hawks’ first eight points coming out of halftime to help his team stretch the margin to 14 at 53-39 with 17:02 left to play. The home team cut the difference back to 10 before Boudie ignited a 10-2 run that created the largest advantage of the day, 65-47, at 11:19.
UMass Lowell maintained at least a 12-point buffer until the Bearcats put together an 8-1 spurt that closed the gap to 70-63 at 3:37. The home team was then within seven twice more before the River Hawks secured the decision.
The River Hawks are back home next weekend when they host UMBC for another two-game America East set.
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