Dyami Starks’ 25-point first half led Bryant University to a 78-56 rout of the Binghamton University men’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon, prolonging the Bearcats’ search for the elusive first road win.
Binghamton (2-8) opened in a 2-3 zone defense, which Starks promptly exploited by burying his first six 3-point attempts. Bearcats head coach Tommy Dempsey said he likes the zone because it mitigates the pressing concern of his team’s lack of depth by reducing fouls, but Starks forced the first-year coach to alter his game plan and switch to a man-to-man defense near the midway point of the first half.
But even then, Starks could not be stopped until the second half.
“About halfway through [the first half] when we switched to man, we had a couple pretty good defensive possessions against him and he was just raising up, hitting fallaways,” Dempsey said. “It was a shooter in the zone, and we really had no answer, and unfortunately the first half got away from us a little bit.”
Starks’ onslaught helped Bryant (5-3) to a 51-30 halftime lead, which it would extend to a game-high 30-point advantage with 11 minutes left in the contest. But Starks, a sophomore transfer from Columbia University, did not score a single point in the second half.
“The best thing that happened to us was halftime to cool [Starks] off a little bit,” Dempsey said. “And then we were able to come out and limit his shots in the second half.”
With Starks unable to sustain his dominance into the second half, Binghamton kept Bryant at bay. But the damage had been done, and the Bearcats could not stage a comeback.
“At halftime we were down, and I was nervous that it was going to get really ugly,” Dempsey said. “I thought our guys dug in, showed pride, shut [Starks] out in the second half. If I was going to take a positive from [the loss], it was that.”
Freshman guard Jordan Reed led Binghamton with 15 points and eight rebounds, while senior guard Jimmy Gray had 14 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.
The Bearcats’ quest for their first road win only gets harder, as they are set to face off with University of Michigan in Ann Arbor tonight. Ranked No. 3 in the AP Top 25 poll, the Wolverines (9-0) have a fine blend of length, athleticism, quickness and shooting.
AP All-American Trey Burke, a sophomore point guard, leads the team in scoring with 16.9 points per game. Burke has also been an efficient distributor, registering 7.1 assists to 2.4 turnovers per game. His 49.1 percent shooting percentage is the lowest among Michigan’s top-six rotation players, and the Wolverines as a team have scorched the nets thus far to the tune of a 51.5 percent field goal percentage.
“You’re playing against a team that has a chance to win a national championship, so you’re playing against one of the true elite teams in the country, if not the best team in the country,” Dempsey said. “So I think you just get yourselves prepared, you go out there and compete. You enjoy the experience of playing on national television against one of the best teams in the country.”
The Big Ten Network (Time Warner channel 814) will air the game, which is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at Michigan’s Crisler Center.