Saturday, December 17, 2016

ESPN3: Delaware State at Binghamton, 2 p.m. ET

VESTAL, New York --  Binghamton men's basketball returns to action after focusing on finals week when the Bearcats (7-5) host first-time opponent Delaware State (3-8) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Dr. Bai Lee Court at the Events Center. The game kicks off a basketball doubleheader that will conclude with the BU women playing at 4 p.m.

Head coach Tommy Dempsey's squad has won three of its last four games. It's the earliest BU has reached the seven-win mark in 23 seasons. But BU will be looking to remove the bad taste of last Saturday's 90-85 overtime loss to Loyola. In that game, Binghamton led by 16 points with less than eight minutes left before the Greyhounds rallied.

Superlatives were aplenty from the contest, however. Sophomore center Thomas Bruce hit 9-of-10 shots to score a career-high 20 points. In his first start of the season after returning from an injury, junior forward Willie Rodriguez added 17 points in 25 minutes of work.

As a team, BU made its first nine shots of the game - a program record - and shot 73 percent in the first half, also another school record.

The Bearcats rank 19th in the nation in bench points, showing the team's depth. Binghamton also ranks 38th in the country in three-pointers and 40th in assists.

Delaware State offers a peculiar study in scouting. The member of the Mid-American Athletic Conference (MEAC) was picked to finish 12th (of 13) in its conference preseason poll after going 7-25 last season. Two of the team's three wins have come against Division III opponents. However, the Hornets did something the Bearcats could not in November - beat BIG EAST member St. John's on the road. Two weeks after the Red Storm handled Binghamton by 16 points, Delaware State came to Queens and came away with a 79-72 win.

Two years ago, DSU won 18 games and reached the CBI postseason tournament. This year's squad boasts the reigning MEAC Rookie of the Year (Devin Morgan).

Binghamton has never played a program from the MEAC, which is centered in Norfolk, Va. and is comprised of 13 historically black institutions across the Atlantic coastline.

After Saturday, BU will prep for a Wednesday tilt at Army before finishing out the calendar year with a Dec. 30 home game against Marywood.


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