Monday, January 12, 2009

The Day After: (BU 68, New Hampshire 37)

There's no way around it. The University of New Hampshire Wildcats simply can't play well in Boston. After another embarrassing loss at Case Gymnasium (68-37), in which UNH was outscored 40-17 in the first half, the Wildcats' winless streak in Beantown ran to 16-straight games and the last time UNH won at Case was 1994, before Dennis Wolff was the coach at BU. So while it wasn't convenient, it's hard to blame New Hampshire coach Bill Herrion for skipping out on the post-game press conference.

While the Terriers certainly did many positive things in such a blowout victory, the most important accomplishment of the afternoon was finally putting a stop to their five-game losing skid. Complementary to that were the facts that the Terriers played well for the second-consecutive conference game and did so without Tyler Morris and Carlos Strong (who are both out with season-ending injuries). While BU would certainly much rather have a fully healthy squad, proving that the team can play well (and have no other choice) without two of their top five scorers is extremely encouraging.

John Holland was masterful for the second-straight game, scoring 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting. He and Corey Lowe will need to carry the bulk of the scoring load in conference play for the Terriers to continue to be successful. If they have an off night, it's most likely the team will as well unless BU's post players really come prepared to play. Speaking of, it was interesting to see Scott Brittain start the game as opposed to Marques Johnson (giving the Terriers four forwards and one guard instead of three and two) who had a masterful game against Albany. Wolff said the decision was based on how Brittain had performed in practice and he would remain in the starting lineup until further notice.

-- Ending the losing streak: By far, the most important aspect of this game as even though the team played well against Albany, things were turning sour.
-- Zone defense: For the second-consective game, the Terriers spent all 40 minutes in 3-2 and matchup zones. The zone was very effective as the Wildcats shot just 2-of-33 from beyond the arc and it helped prevent foul trouble/fatigue.

-- Marques Johnson's playing time: Odd to see Johnson log only 13 minutes after playing 40 against Albany (albeit that was without Corey Lowe in the lineup), but his performance probably merited slightly more playing time.
-- Rebounding: The rebounding margin was even. It's picky, but the Terriers can always improve on rebounding, especially now that they've got to learn how to do it out of a zone defense.

MBball dominates UNH despite injuries

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