The Binghamton men’s basketball team fell behind 10-9 just six minutes into its matchup against the Greyhounds but never trailed again following a 3-pointer from junior guard J.C. Show on the ensuing possession. BU (7-4) captured a solid 77-64 victory after narrowly pulling out a 71-66 win over Army three days prior. Just 11 games into the season, Binghamton is five games short of its win total from a season ago and feeling optimistic about where it stands.
“Our offense is in a really good place,” said BU head coach Tommy Dempsey. “We’re playing unselfishly, everyone’s getting high-percentage shots and guys are sharing the ball.”
Saturday’s showdown marks the first triumph over Loyola (1-8) in Binghamton’s program history. A tight 90-85 loss that featured a blown 17-point lead last season teased a victory over the Greyhounds, but the Bearcats played on Saturday as if they had a history of success. Senior forward Willie Rodriguez posted a season-high 22 points while Show added 17 of his own. The teammates combined to shoot 16-24 from the field as they carried the squad throughout the contest.
“Show was the main reason we entered the half with the 15-point lead,” Dempsey said. “He scored 15 points in the first half and even though he only took two [or] three shots in the second, his willingness to win was just as valuable.”
Early in the second half, the Bearcats extended their 42-26 advantage on a layup from Rodriguez. The Greyhounds responded with a 9-0 run, capped off by a jump shot from freshman guard Isaiah Hart. Rodriguez and junior guard Everson Davis sunk the game’s next two baskets from deep to get BU back on track.
The win over the Greyhounds concludes three straight matchups against Patriot League opponents for Binghamton, a challenge Dempsey and his crew were prepared for.
“I thought that was a tough stretch of the schedule,” Dempsey said. “To get through that and keep the win streak going is a real credit to our guys.”
In order to sustain this level of play, the Bearcats are tapping into their reserves to support the strong starting five. Redshirt freshman guard Tyler Stewart logged a season-high 22 minutes and contributed solid defense as he helped boost BU’s edge to 19 in the second half.
“We’re starting to develop some depth and consistency in our rotation,” Dempsey said.
Binghamton can attribute its win to a multitude of factors, as efficiency and rebounding surely played a role. The Bearcats outrebounded Loyola 30 to 25 and shot 58 percent from the field while the Greyhounds knocked down just 48 percent of their attempts. Despite the strong shooting, BU’s performance from the free-throw line remains a point of concern. The Bearcats shot just 59 percent from the line against Loyola and their 60 percent shooting on the year ranks 343rd in Division I college basketball out of 351 qualified teams.
BU enters a lull in its season emphatically, but Dempsey recognizes there is more work to be done.
“We have eight days off now, the guys will start to get ready for finals and then we’re ready to prepare for Sacred Heart in the middle of the week,” Dempsey said.
The Bearcats search for their seventh consecutive victory after a 1-4 start as they head to Fairfield, Connecticut to take on the Sacred Heart Pioneers. The game is set to start at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 17 from the William H. Pitt Center.