Thursday, January 20, 2011

Grading the Terriers: 1/20 vs. Stony Brook

By Craig Meyer / DFP Staff

Senior forward John Holland: A

Simply put, Holland was the difference in this game, which may not be saying a whole lot in a five point game, but even if BU won by 20, he still would have been the difference. There is absolutely no way that the Terriers would have won this game without the preseason All-America East selection.

Holland finished the game with 29 points and seven rebounds -- the latter of which Chambers made a point to emphasize in the press conference -- but his importance goes far beyond the stat sheet. With BU trailing 47-45 with only ten minutes remaining, Holland helped kick-start a 13-2 run by the Terriers in which he scored, you guessed it, all 13 points for BU. His single-handed run gave his team a 56-49 lead that it would not look back from for the remainder of the game.

Probably about as close to an A+ as there has been this season, but a slow first half is hard to forget.

In all, tonight his team needed someone to carry them, and the standout senior did just that and more.

Freshman guard D.J. Irving: A-

If not for Holland's absolute takeover of the game, Irving may very well have been the topic of conversation right now. The speedy point guard continued to show signs of progress in his freshman season, playing the role of floor general and creator on the offensive end to an absolute T.

Irving finished with 13 points and an impressive six assists compared to only two turnovers, all while logging a team-high 36 minutes. Performances like tonight really reaffirm the view of many, Chambers included, that Irving is the point guard of the future for what will presumably be a very high-octane offense.

Junior guard Darryl Partin: D+

Partin, in junior forward Jake O'Brien's extended absence with an ankle injury, has emerged as a steady No. 2 scorer to complement Holland, and in this time, the La Salle University transfer has put forth some great performances.

Tonight, however, was not one of those moments. When at his best, Partin allows his point guards to create open looks for him beyond the arc, and if he takes it in the lane himself, he'll either find a way to create space for a jumper or will defer to a teammate. But on the other end of spectrum, like tonight, Partin forces up contested shots early in a possession, he drives recklessly in the lane, and oftentimes turns the ball over in the process.

Partin embodied many of these bad aspects tonight, recording eight points, but doing so on 2-of-8 shooting, all while turning the ball over five times. As a second or third option on the team, Partin simply has to be consistently better.

Junior forward Patrick Hazel: B+

While his former teammates at Marquette University managed to squander an 18-point lead to Louisville in the final five minutes to lose earlier this week, Hazel put together one of his better overall performances for the Terriers in his first season here tonight.

With an apparently gimpy Jeff Pelage playing limited minutes, Hazel was an absolute force down low for the Terriers, not exactly on the scoring end (he finished with six points on 2-of-3 shooting), but his game-high eight rebounds allowed a BU team that's playing with a smaller lineup to stay competitive with the Seawolves on the boards.

Team Defense: B+

Coming from a school like Villanova, nobody exactly lauded coach Pat Chambers as a defensive guru in the mold of John Thompson when he took the BU job. But tonight, as they have at many times throughout the season, BU effectively put down the proverbial clamps on a team that, even without players like Chris Martin and Tommy Brenton, still has some playmakers that can put points on the board.

BU held Stony Brook to 35-percent shooting from the field and 30-percent shooting from behind the arc, often forcing the Seawolves into poor, contested shots. If tonight was any indication of the team's defensive ability, it may very well be that the Terriers are fully capable of fulfilling their lofty preseason standing in what is quite frankly a mediocre, wide-open America East Conference this season.

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