Vestal, New York - The Mike Martin coaching era at Brown successfully tipped-off this afternoon at the Events Center with the Bears rallying for a 58-49 victory over Binghamton, with the Bears' new emphasis on defense holding the Bearcats to just one point in the last seven minutes on 0-of 10-shooting. Junior Matt Sullivan scored 18 points and junior Sean McGonagill added 16 points to lead the Bears attack.
Martin was part of the most successful class in Bears' basketball history, graduating in 2004, and is the fourth Brown graduate to guide the Bears' basketball program. He certainly brought that intensity to the Bears' play on the court.
"I can't praise our senior leadership enough," said Martin of Sullivan and Tyler Ponticelli. "Any time you take over a program that hasn't won a lot of games, you look to establish a tradition of winning. We have a lot of work to do, but this is a good start."
Martin became the first Brown coach to capture his debut game since William H. Dye in 1941.
Sullivan's 18 points came on 7 of 15 shooting from the field, while adding four treys. He also pulled down six rebounds. McGonagill had three treys and also pulled down six rebounds.
Bears' 6-8 freshman forward Cedric Kuakumensah, a product of St. Andrew's in Barrington, earned a starting nod on the Brown front line. He immediately made a contribution on the backboards, grabbing a game high nine rebounds.
Despite first half foul trouble, the long awaited playing debut of 6-8 sophomore forward Raphael Maia didn't disappoint as the Brazilian standout proved to be an inside force with rebounding and a nice touch by the basket. He finished with seven points and six rebounds. Maia was ruled ineligible last year due to an NCAA technicality.
Binghamton was led by Taylor Johnson and Rayner, who chipped in with 14 points each.
A long trey by sophomore Longji Yiljep and a lay-up by senior Matt Sullivan gave Brown its biggest lead of the first half, 25-17, with 4:14 remaining.
Two treys by Taylor Johnson sparked an 8-0 Bearcat run to end the half to knot the score, 25-25 at intermission.
The Bearcats opened the second half with consecutive treys to open up a 31-25 advantage in the first three minutes of the half. But back-to-back treys by Sullivan and McGonagill got the Bears back in the game, trailing, 33-31, at the 16-minute mark.
Brown took control of the game with a 15-3 run and built a 46-38 lead with its own three-point barrage. Sophomore Joe Sharkey, McGonagill and Sullivan all had treys, with Kuakumnsah pulling down four rebounds and blocking a shot in the spurt.
The Bears are back in action again on Thursday, November 15, traveling to New Britain, Connecticut to face Central Connecticut. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m..