Blog Entry

Mark Macon never let the losses get him down

Posted on: February 21, 2012 10:43 pm
Mark Macon's Binghamton group was the last team to win a game this season. (US PRESSWIRE)
By Matt Norlander

Binghamton dodged history Tuesday night, giving Vermont a 57-53 loss, meaning the Bearcats won't go 0-30 this season. There have been wire-to-wire winless ball clubs in college basketball history before, but none have ever played 30 and lost 30.

That will still be the case. The Bearcats delivered what Ken Pomeroy dubbed the upset of the season when they held on at home against the top-ranked team in the America East, the 19-11 Catamounts (now 12-3 and in danger of losing the No. 1 seed in the league tournament to Stony Brook).

Binghamton had lost 27 in a row dating back to last season, when it played its last game in a loss to, yep, UVM. Overall, the Bearcats had dropped 39 of 41 games prior to Tuesday night's morale-boosting victory. Macon's working with a team that has no seniors on it (it's been ravaged a by the fallout of the academic and drug scandal), and because of that he's remained positive all the way.

No, really. After the game, I spoke to Macon on the phone and  tried my best to squeeze out of him what the low point from this season was. He wouldn't budge.  He was relentless in his positivity. 

“There were no low points at all because it was about building and rebuilding and creating winning ways,” he said. “The biggest thing is to know there’s another game and another chance to win. You’ve got to keep your focus as a coach and a coaching staff.”

This was a team that once averaged 20 turnovers per game. Now it's down to 13.1 giveaways per game, a 23 percent rate, which is still in the bottom fifth in all of hoops, but "that's growth," Macon said.

Vermont defeated Binghamton by 20, 73-53, on Jan. 12 in Burlington. The Catamounts were successful inside all night long on that Thursday. Tuesday night that was not the case. Macon said his primary scouting report objective was to fight the post and own it inside before the UVM bigs ever got the ball. They did, and since some shots finally fell for this team -- which, shooting 45 percent from the field qualifies as "finally" -- the Bearcats scraped to get the bagel out of the W column.

Macon had adjusted his starting lineups all season long, too. At one point he went totally young, starting three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior. He's leaned toward an older group as of late, though. Javon Ralling, Taylor Johnston, Jimmy Gray (juniors); Robert Mansell (sophomore); and Ben Dickinson (freshman) started in the Vermont game for Binghamton.

The win allowed Macon, for the first time this season, to say how the preface to tonight's game was the same as it was all year long for he and his coaches.

“I don’t go into games thinking we’re not going to win,” Macon said. “And for me to even think that way would not be who I am. My life is built on positivity. There’s really nothing to be negative about. I can only control what I can control. I don’t even have to discuss being 0-30 because it’s not going to happen."

No, it is not. Once again, college basketball is filled with 345 teams that share two things in common: none are without flaw and all know what it's like to go to sleep as a winner.


Since: Nov 18, 2010
Posted on: February 22, 2012 11:56 am

Mark Macon never let the losses get him down

Congratulations Binghamton on your 1st win. I was rooting for you guys except when you played Boston University (CBA 75). Glad it is over for you now...enjoy the rest of the season and pass your finals....happy for Mark Macon...a real good guy.

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: February 22, 2012 8:52 am

Mark Macon never let anything get him down

Macon injured a knee before what would have been the biggest weekend in his life in high school: the state championships.  Even though the odds against recovery were a lot greater back then than they are now, he never let it define him, and came back to eventually be the number eight overall pick in the NBA draft.  

The injury probably helped him develop the habits that would make him a coach, because he had to rely on intellect where he could rely on reflexes before his injury.  He also fought injuries in the NBA, but kept plugging away.  Macon to the coaching profession was really a fait accompli before he was finished playing.  

My guess: Macon will continue the rebuilding Binghamton in the wake of their scandal, and eventually, he will get an opportunity on a bigger stage.   

Since: Oct 8, 2008
Posted on: February 22, 2012 12:54 am

Mark Macon never let the losses get him down

Congrats to Binghamton on not only getting the win, but for all you ardent college hoops fans... when you think the NEXT time will be that you see a winless team beat a team going for their 20th win for their first "W" of the season?
That's right -- that's a ONCE IN A LIFETIME MOMENT!!!!
Congrats again to Coach Macon -- I'm sure he got a few of Coach Chaney's old ways working in fighting the much-bigger Catamounts out of the paint tonight!!!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or