Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Day After: Mount St. Mary's 78, BU 69

You’ll have to excuse us because none of us were able to make it out to The Mount, or see the game, so this version of The Day After may seem a bit choppy/riddled with box score analysis.

The first thing that jumps out is BU’s deficit on the boards. After fighting and clawing their way to win the rebounding margin against a more athletic, taller Northeastern squad, it appears as though the Terriers got outworked by the defending NEC Champion Mountaineers and weren’t able to control the tempo of the game — something they did very well against the Huskies. Granted Jake O’Brien isn’t going to lead the Terriers in rebounds every night (despite his size), but Jeff Pelage, for having played eight minutes, should have come up with at least one board, albeit against a much larger MSM team. Coupled with the fact that Scott Brittain played five minutes (and is one of the team’s better defensive rebounders), it becomes clear why BU lost the battle. What’s not clear is if the Terriers can win these types of games when they don’t shoot as well as they did against Northeastern. It could be a legitimate concern and bring the team directly back where it was a season ago, front-court-wise, if the rebounding doesn’t improve.

What’s also a concern is that with the exception of two fantastic plays in the second half against Northeastern, Tyler Morris hasn’t looked himself. Saturday night, BU coach Dennis Wolff took action. BU’s starting point guard logged just 13 minutes and failed to record a point or an assist, while backup point guard Marques Johnson stepped in and notched three dimes. Prior to the start of the season, Morris said he was completely healthy and he appears to be so in practice, so it’s odd to see his performance suffer so much on a game night as opposed to during drills. Perhaps he still needs more time to return to his Rookie of the Year form, but given his recent performances and the change in the offensive scheme since Morris’ best year as a Terrier, whether that may happen is anything but a sure thing.

The fact that the Terriers weren’t able to notch their fourth-consecutive non-conference victory for the first time since the 2004-05 season could speak to a deeper issue — because the team relies so heavily on shooting, if they are off on any given night (or even off for a crucial portion of the game), they may not be able to engineer long strings of consecutive victories (BU shot 38.6 percent on Saturday after a 54.7-percent shooting performance Tuesday). It’s early, but so far, inconsistency in shooting has been one of the major Achilles’ heels of this Terrier team.

Edit: 12.1.08
For those who weren't able to see or listen to the game (like us), there was an odd play toward the end of regulation with MSM up by five points that changed the complexion of the game's finish.

With eight seconds left on the shot clock, Jake O'Brien blocked an attempt by Kelly Beidler, the clock continued to run to "1" and then reset to 35 without any buzzer going off. In the play-by-play log, it shows that 44 seconds elapsed between BU's score to pull within five points with 1:27 remaining and MSM's bucket with 0:43 left. Who knows how much it could have changed to outcome of the game, but it's certainly disheartening to see such shaky officiating.

Terriers can't complete comeback, fall to the Mount
Goode, foul shooting lift Mount past Terriers
Foul shooting practice
Mounties sharp at the stripe against BU

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