Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Day After: BU 67, St. Peter's 62

Aside from John Holland's dominant performance in BU's win against St. Peter's on Saturday, a few other Terriers had interesting games. Here's a look at some observations involving specific players in BU's second win of the season.

Corey Lowe: Lowe was impressive on a number of levels, but perhaps most significant were his six assists. Ever since BU coach Dennis Wolff switched the offensive scheme in that ever-meaningful win against Maine in Orono last season, Lowe has developed into not only someone who can be counted on to score the bulk of the team's points but also a player who can facilitate other players' scoring. While Lowe's most flashy assist was a perfectly-placed lob to Holland for an alley-oop, perhaps his most difficult and impressive was a low-post feed to Matt Wolff, who proceeded to convert the bucket and got fouled.

While Lowe has proven he can assume the role of leading scorer (he averaged a team-high 18.1 points per game last season and accounted for 24.05 percent of BU's scoring), he had this to say following the win:
video

What that amounts to is a re-definition of Lowe's role in the offense. Obviously, he's still the go-to guy and widely considered the best guard in the conference, but how much will his pure scorer mindset change given his commitment to becoming a more complete player? The only way to find out is over time.

Speaking of being a complete player, Lowe's defense of SPC's top player (Wesley Jenkins) was outstanding. Rarely, if at all, did Jenkins blow by him and despite 17 points showing for Jenkins at the end of the afternoon, as Wolff said, none of Jenkins' buckets were that important to St. Peter's.

Lowe's defense has been a consistently underrated aspect of his game. More often than not, he's matched up against the opposition's best guard (who, at least in out of conference play, is usually taller) and more often than not, he shuts them down. Perhaps it's due to his "defensive baptism by fire" when he spent his first collegiate contest matched up against former George Washington star Carl Elliott.

On a more negative note, Lowe still hasn't found a consistent stroke from beyond the arc. It's doubtful this has anything to do with the 3-point line being moved back a foot -- because Lowe has remarkable range -- but if the trend continues it could be a concern. Through three games, Lowe is connecting on 25 percent of his shots from downtown (6-of-24) while his averages in his first two seasons were 32.8 and 37.1 percent. It's not yet an issue, but one does wonder if his poor shooting performance from 3-point land in last year's AE tournament (1-of-11) has had any carryover effect.

Tyler Morris: Gone are the days when Morris would constantly curl off a screen and use his naturally quick release to pristine-jump-shot his way to ROTY. After being injured for the first half of last season and never returning to form by the end of the year, Morris is still searching for his role on offense. Through the first three games, he's taken four, eight and two shots respectively, converting a single bucket in each one. Easily one of the best shooters on the team, it seems as though Morris is caught between his role as point guard and playing a more natural position (the 2). As Wolff said post-game, he would like to see Morris get out of the point guard mindset and instead be used as a vehicle for entering the ball into the offense, then just join the other players on the floor to present a deep and balanced scoring attack.

The issue that the team doesn't have a true point guard, aside from when Marques Johnson enters the game for Morris, is something Wolff said was "a little bit of a concern" on practice Thursday. Though if BU is able to produce 15 assists (like it did against St. Peter's) nightly and gets its turnover numbers down, Wolff might shouldn't mind the current setup.

Carlos Strong: For the second-straight game, Strong played 16 minutes after logging 30 in the opener. It seems as though BU's balance of weapons on the perimeter gets too crowded at times, and that at no point during this season might it be easy to clearly define the amount of PT Strong will get. As the first man off the bench, Strong's talent level is as good if not better than any other sixth man in the league, so it will be interesting to see if he settles into a more defined role as the season progresses.

Wolff said this following the game regarding the offensive scoring balance: "I never think about that. My thought process is always what we're going to do best to win a particular game."

Scott Brittain: After missing two games with a concussion (the fourth of his playing career -- he had three in high school), Brittain logged 11 minutes and didn't appear to be completely recovered from the 10 days of practice he missed. Brittain pulled down one rebound and made a baseline jumper in the second half for his only points, but we won't be able to see exactly how he'll fit into this year's frontcourt (with the addition of Jake O'Brien and Jeff Pelage) until he's fully recovered.

Odds and Ends: BU converted 44.9 percent of its shots from the floor Saturday (22-of-49) for what was easily its highest shooting percentage of the season. Perhaps it was because the Terriers were playing at The Roof (where they practice every day) for the first time all season. ... The listed attendance was 600, but it seemed like much less were there. 1:00 p.m. start times on a Saturday just aren't conducive to having a large crowd.

Links:
BU opens Case with a win
Holland rounding into form

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