VESTAL, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – All year long the Binghamton University Men’s Basketball team has had their sights on 1 thing, winning an America East title.
Their journey has led them to the quarterfinals on Saturday, where they will play UMBC on the road.
The BU Bearcats have battled all season long through the ups and down, from being in a position to earn the number 2 seed just a few weeks ago, to now having to go on the road in the first round.
But the team knows that none of that matters anymore because from here on out, every game is a must win.
“Everybody’s in a position where you lose and the season’s over,” Head Coach Levell Sanders said. “So I think, you know, nobody wants that to happen so I’m pretty sure we’ll come out fired up, ready to play.”
Despite dropping the last 4 games of the regular season, the Bearcats are still feeling good going into the tournament, knowing that anybody can win on any given night.
“Feel confident, I don’t think there’s been a point in the season when we haven’t felt confident,” Junior Guard Armon Harried said. “You know some things just don’t go your way. We know now it’s win or go home, so just leave everything out there. Everything you have in the tank just put it out there.”
Binghamton, the 5 seed, gets UMBC, the 4 seed, in the first round, the same team who beat them in overtime in Tuesday’s regular season finale, a fact that is adding some more drive to the preparations.
“After coming off a loss it’s some extra motivation too to not let them beat you twice in a row,” Senior Guard Dan Petcash said. “They swept us in the regular season too so there’s some more motivation on top of that.”
Saturday’s situation is not one the Bearcats are unfamiliar with.
Last year, BU lost to New Hampshire twice during the regular season before beating them in the quarterfinals, the same thing the Bearcats hope to do to UMBC on Saturday.
“It just goes to show you that, it really doesn’t matter what’s happened up until this point,” Sanders said. “You have to come out and be ready to play. Every team is gonna be fighting for their lives, playing desperate.”
With an opponent the team is so familiar with having played just days ago, it comes with both positives and negatives for both sides.
“The advantage is, you know what they’re gonna do,” Harried said. “The disadvantage is they know what you’re gonna do. It’s really simple but at the same time, you know everyone’s gonna make tweaks and adjustments.”
One key difference in this contest will be the location.
Despite not being able to play at home and fire up the Binghamton fans, Dan Petcash is just as excited for the opportunity to silence his opponents supporters.
“If you knock down a crucial shot and the crowd just goes silent,” Petcash said. “It’s honestly just as good of a feeling and that’s what we’re looking to do this Saturday.”
The Bearcats will look to silence the crowd and to grab an upset on the road against the UMBC Retrievers Saturday afternoon, the game is set to begin at the Chesapeake Employers Insurance Arena in Baltimore at 1 p.m.