November 27, 2007

Men's Basketball Welcomes In-State Rivals

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Two days after earning an impressive victory over Siena, the men’s basketball team will have to deal with another in-state foe as the Red face Binghamton tonight at Newman Arena.
With the schools only an hour apart from each other, one can expect to see a heated contest. But when you add in the factor that the Red (3-1) suffered a dramatic 57-56 loss to the Bearcats (1-4) last year, Newman Arena might be rocking — especially with the student body back from Thanksgiving Break.
“It should be a good hard fought game,” said junior forward Jason Battle. “The game was very close last year, and they ended up winning. It going to be another tough battle, and we will be out there looking to pull out a win.”
In last year’s contest, the Red were led by then-freshman Ryan Wittman’s 16 points. Cornell was up majority of the contest but showed its lack of maturity by losing the game in its closing minutes. The team will enter the game hoping to show the America East Conference team that it has matured since last year.
“[Last year’s] loss goes back to our lack of experience and not being able to close out games,” Battle said. “We just couldn’t stop them from coming down and hitting big shots.”
In order for the Red to stop the Bearcats’scoring attack, the team will have to work against Binghamton coach Kevin Broadus’ Princeton/Georgetown style offense. Broadus is in his first year at the helm for Binghamton after working as an assistant for the Hoyas last year under John Thompson III. The team is led by guard Richard Forbes (16.6 ppg) and Lazar Trifunovic (15.8 ppg, 10.6 rpg).
Unlike most of its contests, the Red will not have much time to prepare for it opponent, just defeating Siena on Sunday afternoon, 83-77.
“It is going to feel different,” Battle said. “Usually we have a lot more time to prepare for games. [Yesterday] we went over offense and defense so I think we should be fine. We are not going to change too much of what we do.”
Looking at the statistics, keeping up the pace might not be a challenge for the Red. Through five games, the Bearcats allowed its opponents to shoot nearly 49 percent from the field. In addition, the Red will host a team that hasn’t done too well on the boards either. The Bearcats have been out-rebounded by more than six board per game, while giving up 78.4 points per contest.