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VESTAL, N.Y.—Binghamton men’s basketball (0-1) begins a four-game road stretch against its closest geographical Division I opponent (48 miles) when it takes on Cornell (0-1) tonight at 7 p.m. from Newman Arena. The matchup is the seventh all-time with the Big Red holding a 4-2 advantage. The last time the teams met in Ithaca, Cornell posted a 73-68 win in November 2007. Last December in Vestal, BU returned the favor with a 69-68 win.
The Bearcats lost their season opener, 78-74, on Saturday to Colgate despite a combined 51 points from freshman forward Ben Dickinson and sophomore guard Robert Mansell. The opener in head coach Mark Macon’s third season drew 4,760 fans to the Events Center - the largest home-opening crowd in Binghamton’s 11-year Division I tenure. Dickinson made a sparkling collegiate debut, netting a game-high 27 points with seven rebounds and three steals in 38 minutes. He hit 7-of-13 from the field and 11-of-14 from the line. Unfortunately, the rest of the team managed just 28% accuracy in a game slowed by 50 fouls, including two technicals against Colgate. The Bearcats hit 26-of-37 free throws but dug themselves an 18-point second-half deficit and couldn’t rally. Freshman forward Jabrille Williams added seven points and five rebounds in 17 minutes of work. In the game’s final five minutes when Binghamton was closing the gap, the team had three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior on the floor. More than half the team’s total minutes (102) were logged by freshmen and 73% (143) were played by underclassmen.
The Ivy League-member Big Red dropped their season opener Friday at St. Bonaventure, 79-58. Cornell shot 52 percent from the floor in the first half, including 57 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (8-of-14), but was just 30 percent accurate after halftime while missing all six 3-pointers. The Big Red used a balanced attack to stay in the game most of the night with Josh Figini the only scorer in double figures with 10 points. Dwight Tarwater and Drew Ferry each added eight points and Johnathan Gray and Shonn Miller had seven apiece. The team’s leading returning scorer from a year ago, Chris Wroblewski, had four points and a game-high eight assists. Cornell, picked to finish sixth (out of 8) in the Ivy League preseason poll, returns four starters and 11 letterwinners from last season’s 10-18 squad that placed fifth in the Ivy League. Former BU assistant coach Marlon Sears is in his second year with the Big Red. Sears served on Binghamton’s staff in the program’s early Division I years and was a well-respected and talented young coach.