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Bearcats pick up first win of the season against CCSU

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. - Sophomore forward Willie Rodriguez scored a career-high 27 points and Binghamton men's basketball (1-3) shot a season-best 53 percent in an 81-75 road win over Central Connecticut State (0-4) Tuesday night at Detrick Gymnasium.

The Bearcats played a complete 40 minutes and forged an 11-point second-half lead before holding off the Blue Devils with 10-of-12 free throw shooting in the final 53 seconds.

"I thought the game had tremendous flow and pace and there were a lot of great individual efforts by both teams ... and that led to a really good basketball game," head coach Tommy Dempsey said. "We played really good offensive basketball. The kids had a good approach and took very few bad shots. I think our 18 assists are the most in my time here and that's a result of good ball movement and decision making."

Rodriguez tallied 15 of his points in the second half, when BU used a 15-3 run midway through the period to forge a 56-45 lead. Second-year center Dusan Perovic (11 pts.) drilled three three-pointers in a span of 1:37 to spark the run, which also featured a three-pointer and two assists from junior guard Marlon Beck, who wound up with 17 points.

CCSU tightened the score with a 17-7 run, pulling to within one, 63-62, with 6:06 left. But Rodriguez made a pair of free throws to stem the tide and then two more times, the hosts pulled to within one, only to have Rodriguez deliver for the Bearcats to strengthen the lead. After another push brought the Blue Devils to within 69-68, freshman guard Everson Davis drove to the basket and converted a layup in traffic with 1:38 left. From there, BU made its free throws to ice its first win of the season - and first in five tries against CCSU. Beck was 5-of-6 in the final 0:53 and Rodriguez sank 4-of-4.

Rodlriguez made 9-of-13 shots and 8-of-10 free throws to hit his two-year high. He added six rebounds and four steals in 31 minutes. Beck hit 4-of-7 from beyond the arc and chipped in four assists. He netted 14 of his 17 points after intermission. Perovic made 4-of-6 field goals (3-for-3 threes) and contributed his 11 points in an efficient 11 minutes of work. Davis wound up with eight points, four assists and two steals.

Binghamton shot 56 percent in the first half to take a 32-31 lead into break.

The Bearcats return home to host former America East foe Boston University at 4 p.m. Saturday at Dr. Bai Lee Court at the Events Center.

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)