Nine games into the season, junior forwards Bobby Ahearn and Dusan Perovic are finding their rhythms. The duo has served as the Binghamton men’s basketball team’s unsung heroes, tallying 19 points each in the Bearcats’ 91-71 victory over Division II Mansfield.
On Wednesday night, Mansfield became BU’s latest victim. In their best start since head coach Tommy Dempsey took the helm in 2012, the Bearcats (5-4) reached five wins in the month of November for the first time under Dempsey’s reign.
“Wins are important,” Dempsey said. “To be able to taste success early in the season is important for our growth.”
The Bearcats jumped out to an 18-5 lead early in the game, and looked as if they were going to completely wipe the floor with the Mounties. But BU’s offense quickly stalled, as Mansfield (3-2) cut BU’s lead to 48-41 by halftime.
With a game-high 25 points, junior guard Malik Carter provided most of the offensive spark for Mansfield. After closing the gap toward the end of the first half, though, Mansfield ran out of steam. BU pressed at halfcourt, forcing several turnovers and bad shots.
Redshirt sophomore guard J.C. Show, BU’s leading scorer, failed to tally a point before being removed from the game early after taking a hit to the face. The offensive slack Show left behind was picked up by sophomore guard Everson Davis, who scored a season-high 17 points. BU shot a 54.2 percent clip from the floor — its second highest of the season.
“Other guys had it going, and we went with the guys who were going well,” Dempsey said.
Sophomore guard Timmy Rose made his fourth start for BU this season, tallying seven assists. While Perovic, Ahearn and Davis scored the bulk of BU’s points, Rose served as a constant threat, successfully pushing the ball down the court into his shooters’ hands.
“It’s all about having guys that understand what you’re trying to get done out there, and also understanding their abilities and strengths and playing to those strengths,” Dempsey said of Rose.
In contrast to previous seasons in which BU relied on five or six players for the bulk of its offensive production, this season the Bearcats have utilized their depth.
For the first few years of their careers, senior guard Marlon Beck and redshirt junior guard Yosef Yacob were forced to provide nearly all of BU’s backcourt production. With the emergence of Show, Davis and Rose, though, Dempsey doesn’t just have options — he has tough decisions to make when everyone is playing well.
“We’re more mature this year,” Ahearn said. “For the most part, we’ve been executing our game plans more well this year than in past years. That’s just a sign of having more upperclassmen and getting better each year.”
BU is set to face Saint Francis (PA) on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. from the Maurice Stokes Athletics Center in Loretto, Pennsylvania.