Tyler Moffe’s last-minute heroics propelled the Elmira boys basketball team to a 63-62 come-from-behind win over Binghamton on Tuesday at Southside High School.
Down 61-58 with 46 seconds remaining, Moffe drained a fall-away 3-pointer to tie it.
Binghamton regained the lead, 62-61, after Salen Turkevic converted one of two free throws with 30.8 seconds left. Moffe then converted two free throws to give the Express the lead with 20.5 seconds remaining.
Elmira’s Calvin Blish stole the in-bounds pass but lost the dribble to the basket, resulting in a jump ball possession that gave Binghamton one last opportunity. Turkevic, who led the Patriots with 20 points, attempted a short fall-away jumper, but the ball bounced off the front rim just before the buzzer sounded.
“It’s a grind every single night in this league,” Elmira coach Ryan Johnson said. “We’ll take a win any way we can get one.”
Moffe finished with a game-high 24 points. Eli Thomas, who fouled out with 2:47 remaining, had 13 points along with a team-high five steals and seven rebounds for Elmira.
Elmira faced a 46-40 deficit entering the fourth quarter. Re’Quan Wright kept the Express in the game in the final quarter, converting on three 3-pointers off the bench. He finished with nine points.
“Give them credit, they made the shots when they needed to and they made their foul shots at the end of the game,” Binghamton coach Dave Springer said. “They are a good team 11. (Moffe) is a good player.”
Elmira beat Binghamton, 83-77, in double overtime the first time the teams met on Dec. 13 in Binghamton.
“When you beat Binghamton twice in one year, that says something about the character of the kids you are coaching and their heart, intensity and desire,” Johnson said.
The up-tempo play Tuesday worked to Elmira’s benefit early. The Express forced several turnovers and led 18-11 in the first quarter. Thomas scored three baskets on his own steals. Binghamton stormed back, closing the quarter on an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to 20-19.
“We got after them all night long,” Johnson said. “It made some easy baskets for us.”
Elmira’s offense went cold in the second quarter and Binghamton rode a 10-0 run into a 29-28 halftime lead.
The Express opened the second half with a 5-0 spurt, but the Patriots answered with a 13-0 run, leading 46-38 with 1:40 remaining in the quarter.
Binghamton led by seven early in the final quarter, but Wright’s long-distance shooting pulled Elmira back into the game. Elmira closed to within 52-51 on Wright’s trey with 4:42 remaining.
The teams traded several baskets in quick succession before Elmira tied it at 58 apiece on an Alex Bellardini free throw.
With just under two minutes left, Turkevic drove to the basket and threw a shot from the hip that went in while he was fouled. He made his free throw to complete a three-point play to give the Patriots a 61-58 lead before Moffe’s final heroics.
“We’ve had two close games with them and both came down to the last shot,” Springer said. “We battled all night. We made some mistakes, but they forced it in to us.”