Binghamton 88, Quinnipiac 75

In tonight's home opener, the Bearcats put up a relatively impressive performance, giving head coach Kevin Broadus his first win: Binghamton 88, Quinnipiac 75.

Standing in the Zoo, it sure was weird to not hear PA Announcer Dave Simek not announce "Mr. Allllll Walker" at the conclusion of the introductions. But Broadus quickly made an impression on the Bearcat crowd, as his squad jumped out to an early lead they would never relinquish.

Despite his slow start, Lazar Trifunovic continued to impress me. He had quite a few shots rim out early, but once he gets going, those five-foot jumpers will start dropping, and I anticipate that he will become a dominant force in the conference.

Somewhat surprisingly, BU's team defense was remarkably good in the first half, shutting down a Quinnipiac squad that admittedly, I don't know much about. They jumped out to an insurmountable 19-point halftime lead on a pretty steal from Mike Gordon, who made completely sure to finish the dunk after embarrassingly missing an easy one earlier in the half.

When QU started out hot in the second half, the thoughts of deja vu quickly returned to all of us in the Zoo --- remembering all the double-digit leads that the Bearcats of the last few years had choked away under the direction of coach Walker.

But this time, the Bearcats played to win, instead of trying not to lose --- capitalizing on several fast-break opportunities, even when one might expect them to milk the clock, and finishing on several lengthy possessions, including a big three with almost nothing left on the shot clock by Dwayne Jackson with just a few minutes left that put BU up 12. I thought that was the nail in the coffin tonight.

Jackson was quietly the star of tonight's game, going 4-of-4 from downtown, although I didn't realize that was the case until I just peeked at the box score. Laz's 10 rebounds were hard-earned, and although BU was out-rebounded by 7 tonight, it did not feel that way.

Richie Forbes played 38 minutes, and although he shot 7-for-10 from the field, it sure didn't feel like he was a star of tonight's contest. QU point guard Casey Cosgrove repeatedly smoked our gregarious 2-guard, who gave up on a number of plays, only to be saved by his teammates. Like I said after Monday night's game, Forbes better start dedicating himself to his defense, or the team will suffer the subsequent consequences.

As for the 88-75 score, here's my take: I don't think it really matters how much BU gives up, as long as they continue to outscore their opponents. If they're okay with giving up this many points per game, so be it --- but when the offense predictably falls off, don't be disappointed when the results aren't there.

It was obvious that the defensive efforts weren't as high in the second half, with a 19-point lead, but a few key buckets ensured the Bearcats' first victory of the year. Whether or not that will allow Binghamton to succeed throughout the season remains to be seen --- (but I doubt it).

Broadus himself tried to be animated for the crowd, making a couple of half-assed motions toward the BU Zoo with a couple of minutes left on the clock --- which led to scattered "Kevin Broadus" chants. Back when Walker used to motion to the crowd, he'd make sure to get their attention first; somehow, I think Broadus will get the hang of it, or at least I hope he will.

I was very glad to hear that, despite what Mo told me at the KB introductory press conference in the spring, our Pep Band has not given up on 'The Horse.' Thank god.

Finally, I was quite impressed with the interior defense of the Bearcats tonight. Mike Gordon's block early on was particularly memorable, but BU --- with the exception of Richard Forbes --- was certainly not willing to give up easy buckets inside, to the extent of Dwayne Jackson getting a (justified) intentional foul call in the paint. With Jaan and Minja expected to return eventually, expect that interior defense to intensify even further.

Next game: @Chicago State, Saturday, 3 p.m.

(For the record, it should not go without mention that BU will face UVM for the Men's Soccer championship Saturday night at 7 p.m., after a dominating performance [save for the final 30 seconds] against No. 5 UMBC this afternoon.)

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