Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Grading the Terriers: 2/1 vs. Maine

By René Reyes/DFP Staff

Freshman forward Dom Morris: B+

In his seventh game back after having surgery for a non-related basketball injury, Morris played a big role in BU’s 88-78 win over the conference-leading University of Maine. His contributions on Tuesday night showed that he is finally starting to get his legs underneath him again, a sign that he could very well in fact become BU’s most vital player (not named John Holland or Darryl Partin) down the stretch and heading into the America East Conference Tournament. The big man posted 12 points – one of five Terriers in double-digits – on 5-of-9 shooting, but went 0-of-2 from 3-point range in 35 minutes.

Early in the game, we saw Morris do what he hasn’t done much of this season – catch the ball outside of the paint and use his strength and size to take the ball to the rack. On BU’s fourth offensive possession of the first half, Morris caught a pass from freshman guard D.J. Irving 15-feet away from the basket, took one dribble and bullied his way to the hoop for an easy layup. A few possessions later, he did the same thing, except this time, he took two dribbles into the lane and finished with his left hand. Morris didn’t record a block, only snagged three rebounds, and missed three foul shots, including one that would have completed the and-one. These stats alone are the reasons why Morris didn’t crack the A- level.

Senior forward John Holland: A

Well, what more could you say? Holland led the Terriers with a team-high 24 points on a blistering 7-of-18 shooting and also grabbed 12 rebounds, making him the second BU player this season to record a double-double (the first one being junior forward Jake O’Brien back on Nov. 16 against George Washington University). Holland was also the one BU coach Patrick Chambers relied upon in the first half to defend Maine’s star player, guard Gerald McLemore.

Speaking of the first half, Holland didn’t have a very good one. He only hit two of his first nine shots from the field in the game’s opening 20 minutes and was also shooting 1-of-3 from 3-point land. He also committed two turnovers in the first half. The second half was a much different story, as Holland turned on the afterburners and scorched the Black Bears. He scored 18 second-half points on 5-of-9 shooting and corralled six more boards to register the double-double.

Oh, did I also forget to mention that the Bronx native made BU basketball history with 12:05 to go in the second half?

After receiving a pass from junior guard Matt Griffin, Holland calmly stepped into a 3 from the right wing and drained it, bringing the crowd at Agganis Arena to its feet and in the process becoming only the second player in program history to record 2,000 career points (the other being Tunji Awojobi). The triple pushed BU’s lead to 16 points, as Maine called a timeout to slow down the momentum. But it was to no avail. The crowd gave Holland a standing ovation, as the milestone was a true testament to a player who has stayed at BU for all four years and whose jersey will one day hang up in the rafters of Case Gymnasium. He also added an emphatic dunk off a backdoor pass from junior forward Patrick Hazel to cap off his record-setting night.

Watch out, Troy Barnies. You got competition for the AE Player of the Year award with the way Holland’s been playing of late.

Junior forward Patrick Hazel: C+

Tuesday night against the Black Bears was another average night for one of the Terriers’ tri-captains. He did see 32 minutes of playing time, a rarity since Hazel usually gets in early foul trouble and has to sit out long stretches on the bench. Hazel was the only Terrier to finish with a perfect shooting clip (2-of-2 from the field), as he notched a total of 4 points.

Although he wasn’t a force on the offensive end, he sure was a beast on the defensive end. He had a game-high three blocks and grabbed seven rebounds (one offensive, six defensive). He also added one steal and an assist.

Junior guard Darryl Partin: B+

The transfer from La Salle University continued his recent string of consistent performances. He didn’t lead the Terriers in scoring again Tuesday night, but he was second – behind John Holland, of course – with 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting. Along with Holland, Partin also dished out a team-high four assists (a surprising stat since Irving is the Terrier who leads BU game-in and game-out in that statistical category).

Partin also knocked down 1-of-5 shots he attempted from downtown. The last time he played at Agganis Arena, Partin grabbed a team-high eight boards in a win over Binghamton University. In his postgame press conference, he was most proud of those eight boards, but Tuesday night he only snagged one rebound, something he or Chambers must not be too pleased about.

Right out of the gate, Partin put the Terriers on his shoulders and scored five of BU’s first 12 points. Instead of settling for contested jumpers in the lane or pulling up for 3-pointers, he made it a mindset to attack the basket more, which I haven’t seen too often this season. His quickness, one of his less heralded qualities, helped him drive by the Maine defenders and finish at the hoop consistently Tuesday night.

Just another good overall effort from Partin … at home. Now, he’s just need to get rid of those road woes of his and produce in other venues not named Case or Agganis.

Freshman guard D.J. Irving: B

After looking at Irving’s stat line, one would figure that I would award him at the very least with an A-. Not so. Sure, he went 6-of-7 from the field, including a torrid 4-of-4 mark from 3-point range and finished in double-digits with 16 points. He also snagged two rebounds, not too shabby for a 6-foot guard. So why the solid B? Irving only had one assist on the night, which is simply not acceptable for a team’s starting pointing guard. On the bright side, he did finish with another important stat for point guards: zero turnovers.

Irving also earned a B because he fouled out in only 27 minutes of playing time, as he committed some unnecessary fouls at the defensive end against the Black Bears. But he’s a rookie, so those mistakes are understandable. As Irving continues to mature, he’ll learn not to make those kinds of silly errors because picking up his fourth foul with less than 10 minutes to go and then fouling out against the No. 1 team in the conference at the 3:43 mark could have turned into a disaster for the Terriers. Luckily for BU, Griffin was there to bail it out.

Junior guard Matt Griffin: A-

When Irving picked up his fourth foul of the night with a little less than 10 minutes to go in the contest, Griffin came to the rescue and provided an energy spark for the Terriers. His leadership could be heard and seen throughout the game, as he was constantly applauding his team’s efforts and congratulating his teammate for a made basket or taking a charge on the defensive end.

Griffin had a quiet 11 points, but his contributions were heard loud and clear. He went 3-of-5 from the field, but all three of those made buckets came from behind the 3-point lane. Griffin knocked down 3s from all over the place. He nailed a straightaway 3, an off-balance 3 over his defender and coolly drained a wide-open 3 from the right wing.

He didn’t grab more than five rebounds on Tuesday night as he has been doing lately; in fact he didn’t even have any, but his contributions came on the offensive end. Not bad for a player who as of late is showing Chambers he’s someone who can come off the bench and help out the team in a variety of ways.

Freshman forward Mike Terry and junior center Jeff Pelage: C

I decided to put these two players into one section because they have one thing in common: they both only saw seven minutes on the floor and didn’t really do much except for some key moments in the game. Pelage had a bucket early on in the contest, and Terry had a tip-in at the buzzer to provide the Terriers with even more momentum heading into the locker room, leading 40-32.

These two players combined to go 2-of-5 from the field for a total of four points, three rebounds and four fouls between them. A C grade for Terry and Pelage speaks for itself.

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