Rutgers falls to Binghamton

Rutgers lost to the Bearcats at home yesterday, 66-56. No, not RU's Big East rivals, the Cincinnati Bearcats, but the Binghamton Bearcats, who play in the America East Conference. With the loss, RU fell to 5-3 on the year, while Binghamton improved to 4-2. RU seemed to have righted itself after a good win on the road against Rider, but that apparently was just a one-game reprieve.

"When you see a zone … we went inside. We didn't score inside, and we turned the ball over inside", he said. "You either gotta go score inside, and play inside-out, which is what we want to do, and what we did, but you gotta knock down shots when you get ‘em, and when you're open". Hill mentioned the turnovers, which along with cold shooting, has been the other malady the Scarlet Knights have suffered with all season. They had 23 yesterday.

He then made this admission: "On the defensive end, it's very difficult for us right now to play against smaller, quicker teams. We basically have two post players out there. On the defensive end, when we see smaller, quicker teams, we can normally sub in JR Inman, but he's out with a sprained ankle, and he's day-to-day". Hill said Inman didn't respond well to treatment, and "that's why we had to play so much zone". He said that "you have a big lineup out there, and you can't play man-to-man against a small, quick team when they have four guards on the floor".

The size advantage that Rutgers had may have led to the lone statistical bright spot for Rutgers, namely that they emerged with 42-29 rebounding advantage. In the end, it obviously didn't matter. In addition to the 34.8% shooting from the field, RU was even worse from three-point land, making just 4 out 19 attempts for 21.1%. Mike Rosario was responsible for two of them, while Earl Pettis made one and Jaron Griffin the other.

Still, even with the poor shooting, along with mediocre free-throw shooting (20-29), if RU hadn't turned the ball over so much, they might have been able to pull this one out. Out of their 23 turnovers, 8 occurred down in the paint. So in addition to being handicapped against a smaller and quicker opponent, they couldn't take advantage of their advantage in size. Perhaps if you look at it that way, it's no surprise then that Rutgers lost this game.

Another major area of concern for Rutgers fans has got to be the continuing struggles of Corey Chandler. The sophomore guard began his RU career seemingly on track to become one of the greatest players in RU history, but since fracturing his foot in a brilliant effort last year against North Carolina, he has yet to return to top form. Chandler once again logged less than 20 minutes of action, and still managed to once again lead the team in turnovers. He also came off the bench again.

Said Hill of Chandler's struggles, "He's just been struggling with the basketball. He had six turnovers tonight. He does some other great things for us. You look at his rebounds – he's got six rebounds from the guard spot. He's been struggling shooting a little bit. Tonight he made free throws. He's just been, outside of the Delaware game where he was outstanding in a short period of time. He hasn't put together a full game yet, and he just needs to keep working through it. Certainly he's got a lot of talent, but you've got to take better care of the basketball, and that's something he's been working very hard at".

He went on, adding that the areas he needs to improve on are decision-making and ball-handling, stating: "Corey is a better open-court player right now then he is a half-court player, and certainly when you see zone, it slows you down. It makes it more difficult to run. You're in the half-court making more decisions, and we just have to get better at doing that, and we have to be able to generate some fast-break opportunities even when we see zone".

In the meantime, RU fans can console themselves with words of Binghamton Head Coach Kevin Broadus, who said: "We got blessed and lucky today to be honest with you. Coach Hill has assembled a really good team, and they are young. Gregory (Echenique) is going to be a great player in the Big east. I was an assistant at Georgetown for three years and I have seen guys like him come in and turn programs around. Mike Rosario, McDonald's All-American, is really going to be a force in this league

He added that "We caught them on an off-day. I am not going to be fooled and say this, that or another. That team is going to be good at some point in the Big East".

At this point, Rutgers fans can only hope that he's right.


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