Columbia, MO – Having yet to record a victory here in the 12 season, the Binghamton Bearcats certainly have their work cut out for ranked Missouri this afternoon at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
With the exception of a 78-74 setback at home to Colgate to open the season, Binghamton has been beaten badly in every game this year, being outscored by 14.2 ppg on average. The Bearcats, who call the America East Conference home, have played the last three games on the road, the most recent of which wound up favoring Saint Peter's in a 66-43 final.
Missouri is a perfect 5-0 on the season, and has dominated every one of its opponents, including both Notre Dame (87-58) and No. 20 California (92-53) in the recently concluded CBE Classic in Kansas City. Mizzou last went 6-0 to start a season in 2006-07. The Tigers, who are hoping to challenge for the Big 12 title this year, won't likely be tested again until facing Illinois in St. Louis on December 22.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between Binghamton and Missouri on the hardwood.
Binghamton's biggest problem this season has been turnovers (18 per game) and its inability to shoot the basketball with any degree of consistency. The Bearcats are hitting just 33.9 percent of their total shots, and they have made good on only 14 of their 71 three-point attempts (.197). As a result, BU averages a mere 56.8 ppg. Defensively, the team yields 71.0 ppg on typical shooting outputs of 43.8 percent overall and 38.0 percent from beyond the arc. Robert Mansell and Ben Dickinson are the only two players currently averaging double figures in the scoring column, with the former netting 16.3 ppg and the latter 15.0 ppg. The duo combines for 10.5 rpg, helping the team to 37.8 caroms per contest on average. In last Sunday's 23-point loss at Saint Peter's, Chris Longoria scored 12 points as the only Bearcat to reach double figures, and the team shot just 31.8 percent from the floor and committed a whopping 20 turnovers. The only real positive coach Mark Macon can take from the outing was that his team grabbed 38 rebounds, compared to 32 for the Peacocks.
Simply put, Missouri can do no wrong at the moment. Shooting 51.3 percent from the floor, which includes a stellar 46.3 percent from three-point range, the Tigers average a gaudy 85.2 ppg. They own favorable margins in both rebounding (+4.2) and turnovers (+7.0), and their stifling defensive stance results in the opposition netting just 58.8 ppg behind a field goal percentage of only .385, which includes a 28.0 percent showing from beyond the arc. Marcus Denmon leads the team in scoring with his 19.6 ppg, and he comes up with 6.0 rpg for good measure. Kim English is hitting 60 percent of his three-point tries and adds 16.0 points and 5.0 caroms per contest to the mix, while Phil Pressey (12.2 ppg, 3.4 apg), Ricardo Ratliffe (11.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Michael Dixon (10.2 ppg) have all been productive players for Mizzou this season as well. English hit for 19 points in the recent rout of California, and Denmon added 18 in being named the CBE Classic MVP. The Tigers turned up the defensive pressure in the game, as the Golden Bears shot just 29.8 percent from the floor and committed 21 turnovers.