Friday, January 2, 2009

Binghamton (7-4) vs. Black Bears (5-8)

Riding a three-game winning streak and having posted the best non-conference record in its short Divison 1 history, Binghamton visits Alfond Arena Saturday at 1 p.m. for a mutual America East opener with the Black Bears. It would appear to be a matchup of two teams going in opposite directions.

The Black Bears have lost four straight and come into the game struggling both offensively and defensively. Both teams played Quinnipiac and Tulane during the pre-conference slate. UMaine lost to Quinnipiac at home. The Black Bears played Tulane in a tournament in Mobile, Ala. The Bears stretched a halftime lead to double digits five minutes into the second half against the Green Wave before fading badly in a 66-56 defeat.

Binghamton won both on the road, drilling Quinnipiac by 16 and edging Tulane, 74-73, in New Orleans.

Under second-year coach Kevin Broadus and his predecessor Al Walker, Binghamton has an established tradition of playing physical, hard-nosed basketball. The Black Bears will have their hands full with the Bearcats.

Bearcats forward D.J. Rivera, a junior, leads America East in scoring at 21.2. Rivera is a 6-4 transfer from St. Joseph's.

Other Bearcats leaders: Dwayne Jackson, 11.6 ppg, Reggie Fuller, 10.3 ppg; Fuller, 7.4 rpg, Rivera 7.1 rpg; Emanuel Mayben, 4.5 apg.

Notes: Binghamton won twice last year, 69-58 at Maine and 80-55 in Vestal, N.Y. ... Binghamton has led America East in attendance five straight years. ... Black Bears are in search of their first league victory at home since defeating Stony Brook 63-61 on Feb. 25, 2007. Against D1 opponents the past two seasons, UMaine is 3-13 at Alfond. ... The victories you ask? St. Francis (N.Y.) and New Jersey Tech last year and Colgate this season.

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