CCSU 68, @Binghamton 65 - OT

I thought the Bearcats definitely played well enough to win this one, an important home game that precluded a three-game road trip that they very well might finish 0-3.

Instead, BU seized defeat from the jaws of victory -- a stark reminder that this team, even with its heralded new head coach, has a long way to go.

The Bearcats made a bunch of hustle plays. They didn't lose the game because of a lack of effort, which seemed to be the case on Saturday @ Chicago St. They lost tonight because of poor fundamentals and, dare I say ... questionable coaching.

We finally won a rebounding battle, but realize that CCSU is a tiny team. While I'm tempted to blame our interior problems on the absences of Jaan and Minja, it's grim when you think of how raw both of those talents still are. It's not like we've got Chris Holm recouperating on the bench -- both of these injured big men, Minja especially, have a physical presence but no real established interior skill sets.

Giovanni Olomo, I thought, did a great job tonight. A senior approaching the grand milestone of 100 career points (I believe he reached 94 tonight) obviously can't be leaned upon as an offensive threat, or even a decoy (despite his size), but his hustle tonight on the glass (4 rebounds, but 3 were offensive, and they were impressive) made up for it.

But back to my point. The rebounding effort was there, and the hustle was there, but the Bearcats made too many fundamental mistakes to win this game. The guards, especially Richie Forbes, especially early on, lost track of shooters around the arc, namely Tristan Blackwood, and they/he made the Bearcats pay. Blackwood's sixth and final three-pointer was the nail in the coffin, and although it was a good shot with a hand in his face, several of the first five that he hit were uncontested.

And as for the coaching - obviously Broadus is still getting acclamated to his guys, and I'm sure he knows them better than I do. But I wouldn't have taken Mike Gordon out with a seven-point lead with about 12 minutes left. And I certainly wouldn't have kept freshman Chretien Lukusa in the game in the final seconds.

Lukusa played seven minutes, but they were important minutes. And he very nearly cost us the game with a turnover on the game's final possession. I understand Gordon needs his rest -- despite my objections, he still did play 44 minutes tonight -- but 'Magic' Mike proved last year he can handle a little extra burn, and this one was important to get back to winning ways before this very tough road stretch, including the impending walloping that's coming on Saturday.

I wouldn't have a problem with KB playing Mike for 28-32 minutes at Akron. Let the young guys get some PT against the Zips. The team fell apart tonight when Gordon came off the court, and that substitution might just be the difference between a win tonight and a devastating five-game (or more; home to Colgate on Dec. 5 is no gimme) losing streak.

A few other thoughts: looking at the box score, Lazar's charged with six turnovers, but it didn't feel that way. Laz's 17 points felt bigger than Richie's 25, despite Richie's big three at the end.

Perhaps that's because this game is likely to continue the "Is it worth having Richie on the court?" discussion -- even with a 25-point performance tonight, did he give up more than he tallied? Even on a big night like tonight, when Forbes seemed to be putting in more effort than usual on defense, it's a valid question.

I'm liking what I see from Dwayne Jackson. He's being much more aggressive this year, and I suspect he will play himself into the starting lineup sooner than later.

Gordon had 10 FG attempts, but I would be okay with him shooting a bit more, even from the outside. He's got a good touch, and green-lighting Gordon would keep opposing 1's honest on the perimeter -- freeing up those trademarked back-door passes that Bearcat fans are already coming to love.

What was up with the half-dozen mascots tonight? The B-Mets Bee, a mysterious tiger (turned out it was from U-E high school, I guess) ... even the Hamburglar was in attendance. I guess the more mascots the better, but it was weird to see.

Finally, it was disappointing to see BU hit just 6 of 15 from the charity stripe tonight. A couple more of the freebies, and we wouldn't have even seen overtime.

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