VESTAL (WBNG) -- The Binghamton men's basketball team is preparing to face Hartford in the first round of playoffs Saturday.
The Bearcats dropped both games to Hartford on the road during the season.
However, Binghamton head coach Tommy Dempsey said they're a different team this time around.
"We're playing better but we also have Thomas Bruce back," Dempsey said. "I think having Bruce back makes a big difference."
Coming off an injury from last season, Bruce didn't hit the court until early December against Marist.
Since his return, Bruce's defensive presence has helped the Bearcats give up ten less points per game.
"We have a pretty good offense. We shoot the ball well," Dempsey said. "We've played good enough offense to win. We haven't played good enough defense throughout most of the year. We're playing really good defense now. Him being back in the line up is the very reason why."
Sophomore guard Brenton Mills was named to America East All-Conference third team on Thursday.
Mills ranks fourth in the conference in scoring and second in 3-point shooting.
"It means a lot being recognized by the other peers, coaches and staff in the league," Mills said. "Can't be satisfied. Gotta keep working hard and continue to grow."
Binghamton and Hartford tipoff Saturday at 2 p.m.