On Tuesday, the Binghamton men’s basketball team opened its season with a home crowd for the first time in almost two years. The new-look squad was unable to stop the away team, losing to Cornell by a score of 76-69.

“It’s the first game, I think we’ll learn from it and then get better,” said Binghamton head coach Levell Sanders.

Sophomore guard John McGriff led the Bearcats (0-1) with 16 points and was also able to grab four rebounds and five assists. The guard helped BU on the offensive end, especially in the first half, scoring 10 points on efficient 56 percent shooting. Despite the offensive contributions from McGriff, he got into early foul trouble and went into halftime with three fouls. He picked up his fourth with eight minutes left in the game, causing him to play limited minutes as the match continued on.

“I thought [McGriff] was too wrapped up in the crowd,” Sanders said. “Once he got a couple ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs,’ it got him away from what we need him to do. He has to get better at that, he’s an exciting player, but we need him to play the right way and that’s when we have to go back and look at the film. The fouls hurt him, took him out of the game, took him off his rhythm a little bit. I know how that is, if you get going and then you get foul trouble, you have to sit down.”

The Bearcats struggled to hit their shots, especially from three. In the second half, Binghamton shot 35 percent from the floor and went 6-35 from behind the arc throughout both halves. Cornell’s efficiency from inside allowed it to keep the lead, as they scored 42 points in the paint. BU, however, was not lacking in interior presence on both sides of the floor. The Bearcats grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and was able to net 14 second-chance points.

Binghamton got into early foul trouble in the second half, which allowed the away side to extend its lead. Cornell shot 16-28 from the line, as compared to the Bearcats’ 5-8 in the second half. BU’s free throw tally for the entire game was less than half of Cornell’s, posting only 15 compared to the Big Red’s 32.

“They got in the double bonus real early, and they took 32 free throws. They didn’t make a ton, but when you’re fouling and you’re stopping the clock and you can’t really get a rhythm going, it hurt us because when we have a guy like [McGriff] who we’re going to count on a lot is out of the game, especially when we have teams that are pressuring us,” Sanders said. “I thought that played a factor, but we also have to play without fouling, we talk about it a lot and maybe we have to start calling fouls more in practice. We have to adjust to how referees are calling the game, we’re not going to sit and blame anybody about foul calls.”

Junior guard Jacob Falko added another 13 points for the Bearcats but struggled to maintain ball security against Cornell’s full-court press, as he turned the ball over eight times. With McGriff in foul trouble, Falko took on the role of the primary ball handler for Binghamton. Junior forward Bryce Beamer added another 13 points, all of which he scored in the second half. Beamer picked up some work on defense with two steals, and he was active on the boards with five rebounds, three of which being offensive.

“I think [Beamer’s] parents came and energized him a little bit,” Sanders said. “If Beamer can play that way, he can be an important piece for us. We need other guys, we’re not going to be able to just rely on one or two guys, we have to do this as a team.”

Ten Bearcats saw the floor, with eight playing more than 15 minutes. Sophomore guard Kellen Amos was the recipient of a half-court lob from junior guard Tyler Bertram. Amos was able to finish the transaction with a dunk, energizing the crowd.

“We’re going to need guys like Beamer to have nights like that, one night it’s going to be Beamer, another night it’s going to be [Amos],” said Sanders.

The Bearcats’ next matchup is against Sacred Heart University on Sunday, Nov. 14. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. at the William H. Pitt Health and Recreation Center in Fairfield, Connecticut.