Immediate Release: April 13, 2004
East Official Release
Binghamton University has earned a big off-season victory on the basketball court, as the University has been awarded the host role for the 2005 Choice Hotels International America East Men's Basketball Championship, the conference office reported Tuesday afternoon. The selection, which capped a lengthy bid and site evaluation process, came during a teleconference vote by the league's 10 athletic directors, who also considered proposals from Vermont and Albany.
The three-day tournament will feature two first-round games on March 4, followed by four quarterfinal games on March 5 and the pair of semifinal games on March 6. The two finalists will meet at the site of the higher seed to determine the conference champion, who will gain an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. The city of Boston has been the site for the last three America East Championships, including the 2004 tournament, which was ultimately won by Vermont.
"We are thrilled to be able to host the 2005 America East Men's Basketball Conference Championship in the new Event Center," University President Lois B. DeFleur said. "The championship is a great opportunity for the community and the University to bring thousands of student athletes, coaches and fans to the Southern Tier. It will be a great showcase for the University and the America East Conference and will bring tremendous excitement to our area."
In addition to the obvious allure of the $33.1 million Events Center, Binghamton has shown it can draw the greatest number of spectators for the championship - a critical factor in the decision. In 2003-04, Binghamton averaged a league-best 3,893 fans in the Events Center - a figure that was more than 1,100 more per game than the next closest school (Vermont, 2,707). The capacity will be expanded to 5,600 for the entire 2004-05 season.
"We're delighted to be able to host the conference championship," said Director of Athletics Joel Thirer. "I am also pleased that our colleagues thought enough of our game management and facility to afford us this opportunity. It's great news for our campus and the Binghamton community, and we will do everything we can to make this a memorable event for the athletes, coaches and fans."
Binghamton hasn't hosted a conference basketball championship since the women's program hosted the Division III SUNYAC Championship in 1996. The men's basketball program hosted the SUNYAC Championship in 1993.
The 2004-05 Bearcats, under fifth-year head coach Al Walker, are expected to return four of five starters and 11 letterwinners from a 14-16 team that lost in the conference quarterfinals.
is a fabulous opportunity for our campus, community and for our
program, to experience a Division I playoff atmosphere at home,"
head coach Al Walker said. "It's a reflection of the high
level of enthusiasm in our community and among our fans, and
I'm sure that great support played a huge role in our opportunity
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