Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Grading the Terriers: 2/15 vs. UMBC

By Luke Coughlan/DFP Staff

Offense: A-
Any night when senior forward John Holland and junior forward Patrick Hazel combine for four slam dunks and the Terriers record a 40-14 advantage on points in the paint is a good offensive night for the Terriers. BU downright dominated UMBC in the low post all night long.

Senior forward John Holland led the Terriers with 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting including an 8-of-10 mark from inside the 3-point arc, and junior guard Darryl Partin was not far behind with 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting.

Most importantly, the Terriers' shot selection was superb. BU continued to find the wide open shot, and much of the time, they didn't even leave their shots up to chance, nailing a plethora of point blank shots and drawing fouls. Many of those shots were the results of the Terriers' 17 assists, including six from freshman guard DJ Irving.

BU also pulled out an 18-11 advantage in the battle of the offensive boards, and junior forward Pat Hazel came two points away from recording a double-double with eight points and 12 rebounds, including seven offensively.

For the fourth game in a row, freshman forward Dom Morris struggled to find his rhythm offensively. Although the Terriers had multiple weapons on the offensive end, he was not always one of them, shooting 2-of-7 for four points and contributing four rebounds.

Defense: A-
The Terriers nearly managed to hold their opponent to 50 points or less for the fourth straight game, surrendering a 3-point basket with nine seconds remaining to allow the Retrievers to break the barrier. Still, this was one of the Terriers' strongest defensive performances during that streak.

They held potent junior guard Chris De La Rosa to 11 points on 4-of-13 from the field and shut down the toughest offensive opponent that they have faced in the four-game stretch (UMBC averages 65.6 points per conference game). It is the second time in the stretch that they have held their opponent to more than ten points fewer than their conference average per game.

The defense showed up on the stat sheet as well, with the Terriers holding a 44-29 lead in the battle of the boards, a 6-1 lead in blocks and a 7-3 lead in steals. Hazel, in particular, seemed a magnate for the basketball, as he seemed to get his hands on every rebound and shot that came his way. He led the Terriers with 12 boards and four blocks.

A minor lapse in defensive pressure toward the end of the game that allowed the Retrievers to put together a mini 7-2 run to pull back within 30 is the only reason BU doesn't score an A in this category. Sure, there was no way the Terriers were going to lose the game, but losing focus to the tune of three fouls in less than a minute is exactly the kind of mistake that could plague a young team like BU down the stretch.

Coaching: A
BU coach Patrick Chambers did what needed to be done to get his team ready to play on Tuesday night. Based on his press conference, a big part of his preparation was simply to remind his guys just how bad it felt to lose to UMBC on the road in January, giving the Retrievers just their second win on the year.

Chambers lit a fire under his team, and it responded wholeheartedly. For a team that is second in the America East Conference as far as record but still near the bottom of the stat sheet when it comes to home game attendance with just 759 per game, it must be a challenge for Chambers to convince his team to play hard every game.

But give him credit. Recently, it has been on board. Even in front of just 608 at Agganis Arena on Tuesday night, Chambers' squad was ready to play. Chambers' play calling kept UMBC guessing, and when a specific defense was working well, Chambers milked it for all it was worth.

Constant reminders by Chambers at the beginning of the game to “move” on offense set the precedent for an energetic and hustling effort by the Terriers.

X-factor: Transition Game
Whether it was just the fact that the Terriers laced up their shoes differently or that the Retrievers feet were still asleep from the long bus ride to Boston prior to the game, BU was simply faster than UMBC on Tuesday night.

It seemed that every time a Terrier looked poised to come up with a defensive rebound, the rest of the team was already halfway across the court ready to play offense. The Retrievers lacked the same hustle, as even their most impressive transition lay ups still required plays to get around BU defenders already back between the ball and the basket.

Partin and Holland were the main beneficiaries of the quick offense, as both managed to drive right by Retriever defenders to the hoop on numerous occasions. Junior guard Matt Griffin and Irving were also key contributors to the transition offense and defense, often making the extra pass by arriving on the other side of the court before anybody else.

The ultimate result of a dominant transition game: BU's 40-14 domination on the points in the paint category, a 20-11 BU lead in points off turnovers, and a 6-0 BU lead in fast break points.

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