Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Day After: BU 81, Binghamton 64

Usually, by this point in a season, a team has somewhat established itself. Fans can get a good sense of what to expect on a nightly basis and change their hopes as believes based on that. With the Boston University men's basketball team, however, that's not even close to the case.

The Terriers, if anything else, have kept things interesting with a number of developing plot lines related to game performances that have made it impossible to predict what team will show up on a given night. Comparing BU's performances against Cornell, Holy Cross and Vermont to their efforts against Northeastern, Notre Dame and Binghamton, you'd think you were analyzing two different teams.

The team that showed up on Saturday against Binghamton -- one of the better teams at the start of the conference schedule, but is on a three-game losing streak -- was a glimpse as to how good (even with two of their top five scorers) the Terriers could be. BU coach Dennis Wolff called it the best team effort of the season, and that was evident in the box score (81-64). Every member of the team save Marques Johnson (eight minutes) had a major impact on the victory and they did so where it didn't show in the box score as well -- defense. The matchup zone was extremely successful against Binghamton, especially their best player in D.J. Rivera (who came in averaging 20.9 points per game) who didn't lead the Bearcats in scoring for the first time all season.

There's no doubt the Terriers don't deserve to be written off whatsoever, especially given the way the conference has played out thus far. America East is one of the more wide-open conferences in the nation and it will be interesting to see how the games shake out on a nightly basis, because (as we've seen) it's hard to know what team will show up on any given night. But, if the Terriers that embarassed Binghamton on their home floor Saturday shows up more often than not, there's no reason BU shouldn't be re-inserted into the talk about potential conference champions.

-- Second-half intensity: After losing a grip on a 12-point advantage early in the first half and entering the break up by four, the Terriers came out firing, extending the lead and burying the Bearcats. A fantastic sign for a team that has trouble closing games out.
-- Five dunks: Wolff was searching for aggressiveness and five dunks should have found it, including one by Scott Brittain (his first of the season).

-- Marques Johnson's minutes: Wolff said the players on the floor were playing well, which is very true as the individual efforts were all excellent, but Johnson might need more playing time if BU begins to have turnover issues or become fatigued.
-- Binghamton's late run: This is being picky, but it's never good to see 9-0 runs no matter what the score.

Holland-led Terriers bounce back, rout Binghamton
Boston flattens Bearcats

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