Young Binghamton (which may become the name they’re officially referred to here for the rest of the season) came out of the second half firing against Navy, at one point making 8-of-10 shots and 6-of-8 from behind the arc, adding up to an 11-point lead with 13:20 left as the Bearcats chased their first Division I win of the season.
But Young Binghamton struggled down the stretch on that same offensive end, as Navy beared down and the Bearcats made just four of their final 15 field goal attempts as the hobbled Midshipmen got their first win of the season, 70-68, behind 26 points from senior Brandon Venturini. Binghamton had a couple of chances to at least tie it in the final seconds, but it didn’t happen
Here are my thoughts:
Venturini showed what veteran leadership can do – Against almost exclusively freshmen and sophomores, and staring down his team’s fifth straight loss to start the season, Venturini didn’t panic, but hit a couple of huge jumpers down the stretch to keep Binghamton from getting away. All four of his three-pointers and six of his game-high eight rebounds (he’s only six feet tall) came after halftime. “We were a little shocked at how they came out in the second half,” Venturini said. “We started to put our heads down when we were down 11. But basketball is a game of runs, so they went on a run, and we knew we had to answer it. Everyone kept their heads and just kept fighting.”
When Young Binghamton is hitting shots, they’ll be dangerous – Freshman Montonegran Dusan Perovic banked in one, but was 3-for-3 from behind the arc, making him 7-of-10 from out there this season. He is the leading scorer for the Bearcats, followed closely by fellow freshman Willie Rodriguez, who had 15 more in this loss. When they were rolling, they got good looks and knocked them down, but when things got tight, the confidence went away and they lacked leadership, as you’d expect from such an inexperienced group. Jordan Reed played seven minutes, all in the first half, scored two points (on a dunk), and looked like he knew what the deal was throughout, so we’ll see.
With another player or two, Navy could be dangerous in the Patriot – I chronicled their injury woes yesterday, and the Midshipmen still have plenty of work to do, including some help for Venturini and a consistent inside game. But they should only get stronger as the next few weeks progress. “We hope that Worth Smith will be back after Christmas, so that will be good for us,” DeChellis said. “We might get a couple of other guys back, but we’re not sure yet, but that would help obviously. We shortened the bench tonight and I think that was good for our rhythm.”