By René Reyes/DFP Staff
Freshman forward Dom Morris isn’t a man of many words. He lets his play on the basketball court do all the talking.
In his first-ever game at Agganis Arena on Thursday, the 6-foot-7, 240-pound rookie from Newark, Del., had his best performance yet, tallying a season-high 15 points to go along with a team-high eight rebounds and two blocks in the Boston University men’s basketball team’s gut-wrenching 84-81 loss to La Salle University.
“He doesn’t elaborate much,” said BU coach Patrick Chambers. “I tell him all the time, ‘Shoot. We need a third or fourth scorer.’ I just said, ‘If you got this much room, stick it. If they start coming out on you, drive it. If you wanna post up, post up. Just mix it up. You gotta be a player.’ He’s that good.”
On a night when senior forward John Holland couldn’t buy a basket in the first half and fellow America East Preseason All-Conference selection junior forward Jake O’Brien failed to build off last week’s showing against Bucknell University when he led BU (4-6) with a game-high 19 points and seven boards, Morris and junior guard Darryl Partin combined for 21 points in the first session, as the Terriers took a 38-35 advantage over the Explorers (6-3) into the locker room.
Morris was especially efficient in the first 20 minutes of play, shooting 80 percent (4-of-5) from the field and knocking down two 3-pointers. La Salle focused more on Morris' low post game and allowed the big man to wander around the perimeter. When he buried his first trey with 9:53 to go in the first half and his second one less than three minutes later, Morris managed to put his shots up before La Salle center Aaric Murray closed him out.
“I was just playing hard,” Morris said. “The scouting report was they don’t play on the bigs, so it freed up me to shoot the 3s. I was just playing hard, looking for my shot and playing aggressive.”
Although Morris hit just one of his three final shots against the Explorers, the Terriers still looked to him down low in the contest's closing minutes and relied on him to clean up the offensive and defensive glasses. He collected five of his eight rebounds in the second half, and neutralized La Salle's star player in Murray, who finished with 12 points in only 15 minutes due to foul trouble.
"He’s that good," Chambers said. "He’s a talent, and we gotta ride him some days. If [junior forward] Jake [O’Brien] and [senior forward] John [Holland] are having off nights, we gotta go to him. He’s next.”
In his last two games, Morris has clearly been the Terriers' best player on the court and he hasn't let the burden put upon him lately diminish his play. He has posted 25 points in the past two losses to the Bison and the Explorers, matching the same point total he had recorded during the first six games of the campaign. He also ranks fourth on the Terriers with 4.9 rebounds per game.
Morris still has many areas to improve in, but his deference to the upperclassmen and his talented set of skills for a freshman means he has all the makings to be a special player for the Terriers.
“He’s deferring to John and Jake the more and more I just tell him to be a player, go make plays, shoot the basketball, have fun out there, have fun,” Chambers said. “His conditioning has got to get a little better. His defense has got to get much better. But he can score. I’m happy to have him.
"That’s a great player for four years.”