INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY
Binghamton to host America East tourney
Binghamton earned the No. 5 seed for this weekend’s America East tournament, and will face fourth-seeded Vermont in a quarterfinal game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, March 8, at the Events Center. Binghamton will host the first three rounds of the championship.
The Bearcats enter the tournament having won four of their last five games. The team’s 9-7 final conference record was a three-game improvement over last year’s 6-10 mark, and equaled Binghamton’s second-best America East win percentage in the program’s seven-year Division I tenure (.563).
“I’m excited for the tournament, “ head coach Kevin Broadus said. “We’ve got a tough game because Vermont has beaten us twice. They are a very good ball club. But our guys are up for it.”
Vermont grabbed the No. 4 seed over Binghamton by virtue of its regular-season sweep of the Bearcats. The Catamounts are 13-3 all-time against Binghamton.
The Bearcats are led by senior guard Mike Gordon and sophomore forward Lazar Trifunovic.
Gordon, a two-time America East all-star, has started 101 consecutive games in his stellar four-year career. This season, he leads the conference in steals and ranks third in assists. Gordon recently reached the 1,000-point scoring milestone, becoming just the second Bearcat to do so at the Division I level.
Trifunovic, a talented post player, averages team-highs of 14.1 points and 7.1 rebounds. In addition, explosive senior guard Richard Forbes provides a spark off the bench. Forbes has scored 20 or more points five times this season and is averaging 11.7 points per game.
Binghamton is 2-4 in four trips to the America East Championship. The Bearcats advanced to the semifinals in 2005 and 2006, losing to Vermont each year. Last season, No. 6 Binghamton lost to third-seeded Boston University in the quarterfinals.
Regular-season champion UMBC (13-3) will carry the top seed into the tournament, and will face the winner of Friday’s first-round game between No. 8 Stony Brook and No. 9 Maine.
Hartford and Albany tied for second with identical 10-6 marks, but the Hawks secured the No. 2 seed with their win over UMBC on Sunday. Albany, the two-time defending league champions, will be the No. 3 seed and will play sixth-seeded Boston for the second time in six days.
Binghamton is hosting the nine-team tournament for the third time in the last four years. The school drew 13,221 fans for the 2006 championship and 15,977 for the 2005 event.
Binghamton has led the America East in attendance five consecutive years, and is averaging 3,547 this season, an increase of more than 300 fans more per game from a year ago.