Monday, December 22, 2008

The Day After: Delaware 70, BU 68

Well that certainly wasn't the outing Terrier fans were hoping for.

Following about as encouraging a loss as a team can have against then-No. 12 Notre Dame at the Joyce Center in South Bend, Ind., the Terriers had a chance to assert themselves as one of the top teams in the conference with a resounding victory over a team that should have beaten.

As was mentioned in the post-game press conference, once the Terriers went up 19-7 against the University of Delaware, BU coach Dennis Wolff said his team thought the Blue Hens weren't going to keep playing. In most circumstances -- and in the circumstances that create a champion -- the team leading should have continued to pour it on and bury the opponent. BU didn't.

Instead, the Terriers were outscored in the second half for the fifth time this season (in all five of their losses) and dropped another game by a single-digit margin -- this loss being their most heartbreaking given the dagger 3-pointer by D.J. Boney with four seconds left on the clock. After playing solid defense in the first half, BU became lackadaisical in the second half, as the Blue Hens shot 57.1 percent from the floor. It didn't appear that BU was tired, just not getting to the proper spots on the floor. That's not taking credit away from Delaware, they executed very well offensively, but the Terriers have guarded far better than that on multiple occasions this season, so it was troubling to see such a shoddy effort. On the other side, UD's defense was better than it's been as it allowed 68 points after entering the game having given up 74.3 points per game.

One of the biggest problems with the loss was BU's lack of attention to detail. Multiple times Wolff was visibly upset coming out of a timeout when his team seemingly forgot the play, didn't execute it well enough, or it wasn't conveyed properly in the timeout. It's not clear whether the timeout gameplans need to be described better to the players or there's a listening problem, but it's happened far to often this season for BU to be considered an elite club in the AE.

The Terriers are on their first losing streak of the year and things aren't going to get easier against Cornell, the defending Ivy League champion and a team that's unbeaten on its home court. If you thought the game against Delaware was a test of BU's fortitude, that game will be dwarfed by the importance of the Terriers' trip to Ithaca. If BU wishes to still be considered one of the premiere teams in America East, they're going to need to start playing like it soon as only two non-conference games remain before the Terriers are thrown into the fire of conference play against Albany and Vermont.

-- Comeback ability: Jake O'Brien's high-pressure 3-pointer and Matt Wolff's free throws were the highlight of a very collected BU comeback after trailing by eight with 3:44 remaining. A good sign, all things considered, as there's not much you can do about an unlikely 3-pointer from the Blue Hens.
-- Matt Wolff: Again, Wolff's aggressiveness kept the Terriers in the game at points, especially when BU's 3-pointers weren't falling. He had a few key rebounds and his free throws at the end were huge. Not to mention he notched his first career double-double.

-- Holland's defensive effort: While did dive on the floor for loose balls, Holland finished the game without a defensive rebound in 21 minutes. It's the second time it's happened this year and despite the "dumb luck" that brings certain rebounds to spots on the floor, he really should have had at least one.
-- Back-to-back losses: One of the best things about the Terriers' season until Sunday's loss was their ability to recover from a defeat and win their next game. It didn't happen this time, and even worse, the loss came at home.

Late 3-pointer does in Terriers
Boston University Terriers left feeling blue
Boney's late 3-pointer lifts Hens in Boston

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