By Tom Robinson
ITHACA, N.Y. – Tommy Dempsey is confident George Tinsley has better games ahead in his career as a Binghamton University basketball player.
The amount of confidence Dempsey has in Tinsley was evident in how much responsibility he placed on the JB Hoops and Abington Heights alum in his first college game.
Tinsley led the Bearcats in minutes played, rebounds, blocked shots and shots attempted Tuesday night when Binghamton fell to host Cornell, 84-64, in the opener for both teams.
“He’s going to have a big role on this team,” Dempsey said. “I love the way he plays. For him, it was his first college game. You know there’s going to be bumps in the road along the way. I feel like he’s going to have a great college career for us.
“He was kind of a microcosm of the group, a guy getting out there and getting his feet wet. I’m sure he wasn’t thrilled with the way he played, but it’s a different level.”
Tinsley scored 10 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, blocked 2 shots and dished out 2 assists while playing 36:16. He shot 4-for-13 from the floor, including 1-for-5 on 3-pointers, while making his only free throw.
“I thought he got good shots,” Dempsey said. “I think he’d feel good getting those shows every night. We called some things for him coming out of timeouts. He’s at a position where we need him. He’s going to get thrown into the deep end of the pool and that’s exciting for a young player.”
Tinsley, a 6-foot-6 forward, was the last starter to be substituted for in the first half and remained on the floor for the entire second half.
Although he was his team’s top rebounder and the most effective Bearcat defending on the interior, Tinsley said he learned about the physical demands he has ahead.
“Down low, I’m young,” Tinsley said. “In high school, it’s a lot different. You don’t have guys this size.
“I have to get used to this physicality.”
Dempsey said he’s sure Tinsley will adjust to playing on the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I level.
“I know how much he cares and how hard he’s going to work,” Dempsey said.
Tinsley got involved immediately. He took Binghamton’s first shot, a 3-point attempt, and two of the first five. He grabbed the team’s first rebound.
After missing his first four shots, Tinsley cut through the lane to score his first points with 1:17 left in the first half. With 8.2 seconds remaining before the break, he drove, drew contact, scored with his left hand and completed a three-point play to cut Cornell’s lead to 45-38 at the half.
“Eventually, you know it’s going to come,” Tinsley said. “Once you make your first one, you kind of loosen up a little bit.”
Tinsley swished a 3-pointer from the left wing with 9:51 remaining and reached double figures by scoring from in the lane with 8:58 left.
“We’re really young and that kind of showed tonight,” Tinsley said. “Personally, I don’t think I was ready for the physicality yet.
“I know I have to prepare myself better for that.”
Binghamton plays at top-ranked Michigan State Sunday at 7 p.m. in a game that will be televised on the Big Ten Network.