The Binghamton men’s basketball team’s defense fell silent against Albany, and the Bearcats’ offense failed to compensate. BU’s recent stretch of poor performance continued in an 84-65 loss to the Great Danes (11-9, 2-3 America East) on Thursday night.
Since the loss of redshirt sophomore J.C. Show late last month, Binghamton (9-11, 0-5 AE) has struggled from the field. On Thursday night, though, BU’s struggles stemmed largely from its defensive deficiencies. Albany’s backcourt trio of sophomores David Nichols and Joe Cremo and redshirt sophomore Travis Charles combined for 61 points, routinely finding soft spots in Binghamton’s zone defense.
“They can score from all three levels,” said BU head coach Tommy Dempsey. “They can score from three, mid range and at the rim.”
In the first half, Binghamton kept pace with Albany offensively. The Bearcats shot a healthy 52 percent clip from the field, sharing little resemblance to the scoring attack that has struggled so far in conference play. BU moved the ball fluidly and without agenda, creating a balanced scoring attack; five players accounted for at least five points in the first 20 minutes.
While their offense rolled, the Bearcats’ inability to create stops haunted them. The Great Danes shot 71 percent from the field, including 83 percent from beyond the arc. Albany attacked BU’s zone through frequent pick and rolls, creating open shots from the floor. Its mid-range scoring gave Binghamton fits, despite the Bearcats’ plan to strategically allow open shots in that area.
“They got some mid-range shots against our zone,” Dempsey said. “[Those shots] are what we give up, we try to avoid giving up layups, so the mid range is our soft spot. Players in college basketball don’t tend to make that shot anymore.”
In the era of analytics, it has become apparent that three pointers and shots in the paint are most efficient. The Bearcats worked well to force inefficient looks, but Albany had no trouble scoring on them.
The trend continued in the second half as Binghamton was again outscored despite its sound offensive execution. Led by junior forward Willie Rodriguez’ 15 second-half points, Binghamton also dominated at the line with nine of 10 free throws. Rodriguez finished the game with 21 points, going 7-for-11 from the field. But Binghamton’s second-half defense struggled, allowing Albany to shoot 60 percent from the field and pull away to a 19-point victory.
“I thought Willie had a very good game,” Dempsey said. “It’s tough on Will because he missed the preseason and the first 10 games … But in order for us to stay in the game, we need him out there.”
BU is set to continue AE play against Stony Brook on Sunday. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. from the Events Center in Vestal, New York.