By Luke Coughlan/DFP Staff
Junior forward Jake O’Brien: C+
In the first half of the game, O’Brien played exactly like the “constant” that BU coach Patrick Chambers called him at halftime of the Scarlet and White Scrimmage on November 8. In that half, he scored a team-high 11 points off of a 5-for-9 shooting performance. A consistent ability to back down defenders and hit jump shots from close range made him the Terriers’ best weapon in the first. Unfortunately, he fizzled in the second half, going 0-for-4 shooting.
O’Brien’s lowered statistics in the second half could be due, in part, to the explosiveness of Holland, who dominated the stanza, and Irving, who also had a big half. He could have been staying out of their way. But, three players on a hot streak are better than two. Had O’Brien been able to string his momentum into the second half, the Terriers could have been able to add a valuable kick-out-three option for Holland as he drove to the hoop, or they simply could have seen more time with O’Brien at the free throw line, a place where he can wear down a team consistently. With the extra streaking player, the Terriers, who ultimately lost by two, could have tipped the scale in their favor, and pulled off the comeback in the end.
O’Brien’s defensive impact was also greatest in the first half, when he managed two blocks, one steal, and four rebounds. In the second half, he recorded one more steal, and four more rebounds. He played 37 minutes of the contest.
Senior forward John Holland: B+
Holland, the other returning player for the Terriers who saw time on the court, was the Terriers’ star of the game. While it took him an entire half to get going, once he was on, the Huskies were unable to turn him off for the rest of the night. Holland sputtered in the first half, going 1-for-4 from the field, 1-for-3 from beyond the arc, and 1-2 from the free throw line for six points. He also managed one rebound and one assist.
The second half was a different story. Holland was nearly perfect, shooting 4-for-4 from the field, 2-for-3 from three point land, and 5-for-5 from the line for 19 second half points and 25 in the game. He hit shots from everywhere, including a three point shot that brought the Terriers within two with 45 seconds left in the game.
“I thought, a lot of the time, in the first half, I was settling for jumpers,” he said. “So, definitely, in the second half, I tried to be more aggressive and maybe attack the rim a little more.”
By changing the plan of attack, the Terriers’ managed to create offensive opportunities in the paint. While in the first half, their plays often consisted of perimeter passing followed by tough jump shots, in the second half, because of Holland’s ability to get to the basket, they were able to take open shots and cut into the Huskies’ lead.
Holland saved the game from being a blow out, but had he been able to come onto the court in the first half with the intensity that he displayed in the second, he may have been able to spring O’Brien for some extra points, and vice versa. That in turn may have cut into the halftime deficit and given the Terriers an extra boost going into the second half.
Junior guard Matt Griffin: B-
Griffin started the game at point guard and wound up playing just 21 minutes. His performance was rather pedestrian, as he scored five points shooting 1-for-1 from the field and 1-for-3 from beyond the arc. While he certainly didn’t star in the game, he did hit some tough shots, including a contested three that bounced around the rim multiple times before falling through the hoop.
Unlike Irving, who managed to drive to the hoop or dish to other players to create open shots, Griffin rarely managed to find the open man, usually settling for a contested jump shot or a pass to another guarded player. He also allowed two of the Terriers’ 13 turnovers.
Griffin did show an ability to run the Terrier offense well, managing to set up plays while taking the ball up the court against a tough full court press at times. The fact that he has not played a live college game in over a year due to transferring rules in the NCAA also could have contributed to some rusty play.
Freshman guard D.J. Irving: A
Irving was the surprise of the game, as he exploded in his first collegiate game at point guard, scoring 14 points on a 5-for-6 shooting performance, contributing a team-high five assists, and adding five rebounds over 27 minutes. With nothing to lose after being ranked the team’s fourth best recruit of 2010 by ESPN behind Travis Robinson, Mat Piotrowski, and Dom Morris, Irving stunned the crowd with incredible speed, judicious shot selection, and a lack of nervousness that is tough to expect from a freshman getting his first start.
Of the Terrier starters, Irving played the most consistently, earning five of his points in the first half over only nine minutes. He was able to find Holland and O’Brien for open shots and also tossed up a beautiful pass from the top of the three point arc to Holland for an alley-oop that cut the Huskies’ lead to one with just under three minutes left to play. The poise with which he conducted the Terrier offense is a good sign for this team going forward, as they will need the freshmen to contribute on a regular basis if they are going to live up to expectations.
Junior guard Patrick Hazel: C-
Despite Hazel’s status as one of three captains for the Terriers, he lacked the intensity that one would expect from a leader throughout the game. Like Griffin, Hazel was playing his first game for the Terriers after sitting out last year due to transferring rules. But, not only did he make rusty-looking mistakes on defense and at the free throw line, it looked as if one of the reasons for his mistakes was a lack of energy on the court.
While the built, lanky guard played 28 minutes in the game, he had a minimal impact, going 1-for-2 shooting on the evening and 0-for-2 from the free throw line. He also pulled down two rebounds and had one block while committing a turnover as well. Hazel’s misses from the free throw line were particularly nasty, the first of which nicked the front iron and the second of which hit the backboard and clanged off of the right side of the hoop before dribbling off to the right.
While Hazel’s slow start may be due to a long hibernation from live playing time, his lack of intensity on both sides of the ball is discouraging. The Terriers are expecting Hazel to lead the team by example, and will need him to play with more energy in the future.
Junior guard Darryl Partin: B
Partin had the most minutes of any player on the Terriers’ bench players with 27. While he also showed some rust after sitting out last year due to transferring rules, committing three turnovers and four personal fouls, he also showed an ability to eat up minutes and assist in overall team effort.
Partin went 3-for-8 shooting on the night and 1-for-2 from the free throw line for seven points. His one assist on the night was a nice dish to Holland for an open three in the second half that cut the Huskies lead to six and started off an 8-0 run by the Terriers that brought them within one. Partin was in the game for the entire run and helped run the BU offense when it was at its best.
Look for Partin to improve as the season goes on and for him to establish himself as a real spark off of the bench or as a possible starter as the team continues to experiment with lineups.
Freshman guard Mike Terry Jr.: A-
Terry played only seven minutes in the contest, and his contributions were minimal, but they were important. He shot 0-for-1, snagged an offensive rebound, and had a steal while committing one turnover in the game.
Although Terry was the player Chambers called on when he needed to give his starters a quick rest, he did his job, and he also made one of the defensive plays of the game. With the Terriers down by two with 42 seconds remaining, Chambers elected to go the defensive route, hoping his team could prevent the Huskies from scoring and earn a chance at the tying or winning basket. Chambers put Terry in the game to guard star Husky guard Chaisson Allen in a very high pressure situation.
Terry did his job, sticking to Allen throughout the entire 30 second possession and getting in his face when he finally went up for a tough three point shot. Because of Terry’s efforts, the shot missed, and the Terriers were a rebound away from having the ball down two points with 10 seconds remaining. Unfortunately, the ball was recovered by the Huskies on a fantastic out-of-bounds pass that forced the Terriers to foul and ultimately ended the game.
If Terry can come into games in high pressure situations and perform as well as he did on Friday, he will be a strong addition to the Terrier bench.
Freshman forward Dom Morris: B-
Dom Morris came into the game looking to prove himself as another reliable bench player for the Terriers. He played 15 minutes but did not score, shooting 0-for-1 from the field and 0-for-2 from beyond the arc. He did pull down three defensive rebounds for the team, however, and did not hesitate when presented the opportunity to fight for the ball. His big build gave him an advantage in the paint, and helped him on the boards. It’s a shame that he couldn’t turn that strength under the basket into an advantage on the offensive end. Like many of his teammates, Morris settled for more three point jumpers than higher percentage shots from inside the arc. As a result, he was unable to convert as consistently as he would have liked.
Morris will be expected to become more comfortable with the Terriers’ system as time goes on. This being his first collegiate game, the pressure and nerves may have compromised his performance somewhat. Morris could join Partin as a one-two punch from off of the bench in future games.