Syracuse will host Binghamton on Saturday evening. Here’s a quick look at the game:
STARTING OVER: Binghamton head coach Tommy Dempsey is only a year into his rebuilding project with the Bearcats, but he’s already seeing signs of progress. The Bearcats won their second game of the season, 74-70, over Mount St. Mary’s on Wednesday to improve their record to 2-6. While the record isn’t particularly impressive on its face, consider that when Dempsey took over the Binghamton program in 2012 from Mark Macon, he inherited a team that went 2-29 in 2011-12. But with several key returning players this season, a coaching staff that includes former SU star Lazarus Sims, plus an intriguing freshman class, Binghamton is slowly working its way back to respectability.
SCOUTING THE BEARCATS: The Bearcats are headlined by sophomore guard Jordan Reed, who leads the team in scoring at 15.4 points per game after averaging more than 16 ppg as a freshman. On many nights last year, Reed was the only legitimate scoring threat, with only one other player (barely) averaging double figures. A deep freshmen class has joined him this year to balance out the scoring. Freshmen Marlon Beck, Nick Madray and Yosef Yacob all average in double figures, and Madray is perhaps the team’s most important player because of his size. At 6’9″, he’s the tallest player on the team, and Dempsey has frequently used a four guard lineup with Madray as the big man. While the results have been mixed both because of the lack of size and experience, there’s no doubt that the Bearcats are headed upward. Recruits have started to notice, with Lower Merion (whose alumni include SU’s BJ Johnson and Kobe Bryant) wing Justin McFadden and Chesire Academy wing Wilfredo Rodriguez joining two other commits in the 2014 class.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: The last time these two teams met, SU blew out the Bearcats, 86-56. Hakim Warrick led the way with 20 points while Gerry McNamara chipped in with 18 for the then-fourth ranked Orangemen.
GAME INFORMATION: Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY. TV: ESPN3.