Friday, November 30, 2007

Below is another article about Cornell's 73-68 win over Binghamton on November 27. The article was published in Binghamton's student newspaper. For related stories on Cornell's win over Binghamton, click here.

Bearcats Lifeless at Cornell

Binghamton Pipe Dream
By Ben Masur
November 30, 2007

From day one, Binghamton University men’s basketball head coach Kevin Broadus has been concerned about his team’s defense.

But now, two weeks into the season, add their offense to the list of concerns as the Bearcats were handed their fourth straight loss of the season, 73-68, at Cornell on Tuesday night.

“I am concerned about everything: offense and defense, everything is new,” Broadus said. “We try to get better at it and all of these guys are freshmen and we are all trying to grow.”

The Bearcats jumped out to an early 11-2 lead in a promising start, but then struggled closing out the half. The Big Red held a 13-point lead at the break as they went on a 22-8 run, with 19 of those points coming off eight Bearcat turnovers, to end a half in which Cornell shot 67 percent.

Cornell had eight different players score in the first half, while the Bearcats had just three. Binghamton’s Devon McBride and Lazar Trifunovic combined for 23 of the team’s 30 first-half points. McBride finished with a game-high 20 and Trifunovic with 16.

“They are stepping up, but now we have to get other guys to do the same,” Broadus said. “We need the whole team to step up. This team is not good enough to have this guy play well one game and the next game someone else. We don’t need individual play, we need unit play.”

Binghamton outscored Cornell 38-30 in the second half and its defense held the Big Red to 44 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers for the game, partly thanks to the stellar play of Reggie Fuller, who had six blocks and five steals.

But offensively, the Bearcats just couldn’t make a push. Cutting the lead to eight, 64-56 with 4:24 to go, Binghamton then went scoreless until the 1:54 mark as Cornell extended its lead to 13 and the Bearcats couldn’t seem to make timely baskets.

With Cornell playing a 2-3 and 1-3-1 zone, the Bearcats were forced to rely on their outside shooting and couldn’t make Cornell pay.

Binghamton shot just 7-for-24 from behind the arc, including a 2-for-10 effort from Moussa Camara, who finished the game with 12 points. Brandon Herbert, who fouled out in 13 minutes of action, also added a spark offensively with 10 points. But sharp shooter Milos Klimovic, who is usually called upon to drain shots from the outside, did not play due to a coach’s decision.

“We are going to see a lot of zone,” Broadus said. “Guys are afraid to guard us so they will play zone, and now we have to work on making shots.”

While the Bearcats got 30 points from their bench, the two senior guards they usually rely on struggled. Mike Gordon and Richie Forbes combined for just six points and shot a combined 2-for-13 from the field and 0-for-5 from three. But while the two did combine for 11 assists and five steals, they clearly didn’t have a typical performance.

“Mike had back spasms and I didn’t want to play him, but he insisted on playing,” Broadus said. “He isn’t himself right now and Forbes just had a rough outing.”

Cornell was led by Louis Dale, who had 17 points in 6-for-10 shooting, and Colin Robinson, who added 16 points on 6-for-11 shooting. The Big Red shot 56 percent for the game and 14-for-18 from the charity stripe.

The Bearcats have yet to win on the road this season and will look to change that tomorrow when they take on Rider at 3 p.m. in Lawrenceville, N.J. They have their work cut out for them as the Broncs beat the Bearcats last season at Binghamton, 79-65.

This season, Rider beat Penn State and almost defeated North Carolina State. Rider is led by Jason Thompson, an “NBA prospect,” according to Broadus, who was voted the 2007-2008 MAAC Preseason Player of the Year and was one of just three Division I players to average over 20 points and 10 rebounds for the 2006-2007 season. The other two were Kevin Durant of Texas and Nick Fazekas of Nevada.

“Rider is a very tough team,” Broadus said. “We are playing whole games with young guys. I am seeing progression, but now we have to put together 40 whole minutes. We have to put together two halves.”

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