The Binghamton men’s basketball approached the 2016-17 season as a turning point after slogging through a long rebuild under the guidance of BU head coach Tommy Dempsey.
For their first 15 games, everything seemed to be going according to plan. The Bearcats won nine games in nonconference play — a program record. Then, it all came crashing down.
With two games remaining before conference play began, the team announced that redshirt sophomore guard J.C. Show would undergo season-ending surgery to repair a ruptured left tricep. Before his injury, Show starred as BU’s best player. He led the Bearcats in scoring with 13.3 points per game, while filling multiple roles in Dempsey’s schemes.
Show’s injury derailed Binghamton’s once-lofty aspirations. Since then, the Bearcats have slogged to a 4-14 record, including a 3-13 mark in America East (AE) play.
Over the course of the season, BU has struggled to shoot, and its defense has been invisible at times. But Show’s injury isn’t the only cause for Binghamton’s problems. Other key players have also fallen short.
Senior guard Marlon Beck, who has been the face of the program since he arrived as a freshman, has averaged just 6.5 points per game — the lowest of his collegiate career. Junior forward Willie Rodriguez, who was selected to the AE Preseason All-Conference Team, has seen his scoring decline to 11.5 points per game from 15.1 points a year ago.
BU will now enter the AE Conference Tournament with the eighth seed, which pits it against No. 2 Stony Brook. Even though Binghamton defeated Stony Brook earlier this season, the Bearcats have a history of struggling against the Seawolves. Stony Brook has knocked BU out of the AE Championship in three of the last five years.
Tipoff of the AE Quarterfinal match is set for 7 p.m. from the Island Federal Credit Union Arena in Stony Brook, New York.