UNH Men’s Basketball: Binghamton Returns to Durham For First Time Since AE Quarter Finals


China Wong

Nick Johnson and Jacob Falko in the 2022 America East Quarter Finals

Spencer Marks, Sports Editor

Durham N.H.- Following the University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) blowout 70-46 loss to Bryant University (15-8, 6-4) on Wednesday, the Wildcats (11-11, 6-4) will be challenged with yet another difficult opponent as they will play host to the Binghamton Bearcats (9-13, 5-4). 

The Bearcats currently sport a worse record than UNH, but Wednesday night will be a fight for the Wildcats who know this team in green all too well. 

Back on March 6th, 2022, Binghamton traveled to Durham to take on the ‘Cats in the America East QuarterFinals as the underdog. Before this, UNH had stolen a pair of wins from the previous two meetups against Binghamton so the Bearcats came into Lundholm Gymnasium hungry for a semi-final berth. 

When the game clock struck zero, that is precisely what happened. Binghamton broke the hearts of the ‘Cats packed house as the game ended in a failed game-tying buzzer-beater by UNH which left the final score at 72-69 painted on the scoreboard. 

The Wildcats’ supposed “revenge game” took place on January fifth of this year and once again the matchup didn’t end anywhere near where the Wildcats would’ve liked it. Binghamton won by a dominant score of 68-50 showing the new-look Wildcats why they were still the better team. 

That is where this week’s game comes into play. This Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. the Bearcats will step foot in Lundholm Gymnasium for the first time since last March. Despite this not being a playoff game, the playoff implications are as important as can be. 

Making the playoffs shouldn’t be too much of a problem for the ‘Cats as eight out of the nine teams in the America East Conference will make the tournament. What the Wildcats should worry about is their seeding, as only the top four teams in the conference will secure a home playoff game. 

After losing to Bryant, the Wildcats sit in 4th place in the America East Conference behind first-place Veremont (7-2), second-place UMass Lowell (7-4), and third-place Bryant (6-4). 

There is good news and bad news that follows that statement. The good news is that UNH has beaten Vermont and UMass Lowell already so they currently hold a tiebreaker over those teams. The bad news is that Bryant has beaten the ‘Cats twice now so you can cross any tiebreaker wins away from the Wildcats against the Bulldogs. The same could be said for the fifth-place Bearcats if they win in Durham this week while the Wildcats are looking to split the season series.

The backbone of this Binghamton team is Senior Guard Jacob Falko. Currently, Falko leads the team in points (291), points per game (13.2), assists (75), steals (26), three-pointers (24), and three-point percentage (.316). 

Falko’s right-hand man is graduate student forward Miles Gibson. Standing at 6’ 6”, Gibson leads the team in rebounds with 116. He also is tied for first in blocks with 13. 

Gibson, Falko, and the rest of the Bearcats are coached by second-year Head Coach Levell Sanders. Sander’s first year was a success as he brought his team to the semi-finals of the America East Playoffs after finishing with a final record of 9-12 in the conference. 

The Wildcats will be tasked with a must-win situation this Wednesday in a critical game that can change the course of their season. You can catch all the action on ESPN+ or tune into 91.3 FM for the radio broadcast tipping off at 7:00 p.m.