When the Binghamton men’s basketball team visited Stony Brook for the first of two meetings this season, BU head coach Tommy Dempsey stashed his best player on the bench for most of the 67-47 loss.
Sophomore guard Jordan Reed, who missed each of his four field goal attempts and turned the ball over three times in nine minutes in the Jan. 15 clash, will play tonight when the Seawolves (16-7, 8-1 America East) visit the Events Center. But Dempsey will likely not have the luxury of sending freshman forward Nick Madray into the game.
Madray, ailing from a hip/lower back/groin injury sustained in practice over the weekend, missed Sunday’s game at UMass Lowell. X-rays were negative, but Madray arrived at Monday’s practice on crutches.
“We’ve got to be sure. We can’t put him out there until we have all the answers,” Dempsey said. “It’s a little vague what’s going on … We’re not going to put him in harm’s way until we have all the answers.”
With Madray potentially sidelined and senior forward Roland Brown available but battling an illness, the Bearcats (4-18, 1-8 AE) will field a thin frontcourt against the AE’s most dominant post player: sophomore Jameel Warney, whom Dempsey recruited heavily while coaching at Rider.
Warney, who scored 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting and snatched nine rebounds against Binghamton last month, averages 15.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game — both marks rank second in the conference.
“We’re going to be a little bit challenged in there with … Warney,” Dempsey said. “We’re going to have to do it by committee. We’re not going to shut him down with one guy … We’re just not built to play him one-on-one. Neither is anybody else in the league right now.”
Stony Brook sophomore guard Carson Puriefoy, who averages 11.8 points per game, has missed the last two games with a groin injury. Even if Puriefoy does not play tonight, senior guard Anthony Jackson will add a veteran scoring presence Binghamton did not have to combat on Jan. 15.
Jackson did not suit up for the first meeting between the two teams, as he served a three-game suspension. He averages 13.8 points per game, and has poured in 20 or more four times this season.
“He adds a lot. He’s a really good guard in this league, a potential first-team all-league guard,” Dempsey said. “We were fortunate that he didn’t play in the first matchup. His presence here [tonight] makes them a much better team.”
And his scoring ability should only help a Stony Brook team that shot 47.7 percent against Binghamton on Jan. 15. Though the Bearcats struggled defensively, they had even more trouble scoring against the Seawolves’ suffocating man-to-man.
Freshman guard Marlon Beck II will face the tall task of busting out of a shooting slump against the AE’s second-most efficient defense. Beck, who averages 9.1 points per game on 32.2 percent shooting, has reached double figures just once in his last seven games.
He has converted 14 of his 57 field goal attempts (24.6 percent) during that stretch, resembling a vastly different offensive player than the one that torched Cornell for 27 points on Nov. 13.
“You go through that sometimes as a player, especially as a young player,” Dempsey said. “He’s at a stretch of the season where I think he just needs to see the ball go in the basket. He’s lost a little bit of confidence, and hopefully he can regain that shooting form that he had early in the year because we need him to put the ball in the basket.”
With Madray potentially sidelined, Beck’s offensive output will be even more critical to Binghamton’s chances of sticking with Stony Brook.
Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Events Center.