Wednesday, March 30, 2011

UPDATE: Holland impresses at Portsmouth Invitational

By Craig Meyer/DFP Staff

After a storied career for the Boston University men's basketball team that culminated with an America East Conference title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament, senior forward John Holland will now embark on a basketball career beyond Commonwealth Ave. and several opportunities have already presented themselves for the program's second all-time leading scorer.

The 2011 AE Player of the Year participated in the Portsmouth (Virginia) Invitational Tournament last weekend, a round-robin tournament that serves as a chance for top seniors from programs around the nation to showcase themselves to NBA teams.

Playing on a Portsmouth Sports Club team with Villanova University guard Corey Fisher and University of Florida center Vernon Macklin, among others, Holland averaged 15.0 points and 6.3 rebounds in 25.3 minutes per game in three games.

Holland’s standout moment came in his team’s first game last Thursday against a Mike Duman team that featured the likes of Virginia Tech University guard Malcolm Delaney, University of Pittsburgh center Gary McGhee and Michigan State University guard/forward Durrell Summers. In the game, Holland went off for a game-high 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and two steals in 22 minutes of play.

“His size, scoring ability and versatility are all intriguing,” Matt Kamalsky of DraftExpress wrote of Holland’s performance and his rising professional stock. “And though he is still an under-the-radar prospect at this stage, his progress is still well worth monitoring.”


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Holland garners AP All-America honors

By René Reyes/DFP Staff

Boston University men's basketball senior forward John Holland earned the Associated Press All-America honorable mention honors, the AP announced on Monday.

The 6-foot-5 swingman from the Bronx, N.Y., joins an elite group of former Terriers to have received the accolade. Other honorees include Kevin Thomas, Steve Wright, Tony Simms and Tunji Awojobi, who was the last BU player to garner AP All-America honors.

The 2010-11 America East Player of the Year and member of the Lou Henson "Mid-Major" All-America team, Holland led the America East Conference in scoring for the second straight year with 19.2 points per game. He also averaged a team-high 5.8 rebounds per game and posted 47 steals.

In his senior season at BU, Holland scored 27 points and snagged 11 rebounds to help BU claim its first conference title since 2002 with a 56-54 victory over Stony Brook University on March 12. He also tallied a game-high 19 points in BU's 72-53 loss to the top-seeded University of Kansas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Monday, March 28, 2011

From the FreeP: Brick by Brick

By Craig Meyer, René Reyes and Luke Coughlan/DFP Staff

Even for a man who dedicates so much effort, determination and focus to tapping at proverbial stones, Boston University men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers is a relentless builder.

When he was first introduced as the Terriers’ next coach in April 2009, Chambers spoke of a vision that he had for the program moving forward, a vision that would hopefully one day make BU a nationally relevant mid-major. Inheriting a talented group of seniors with Corey Lowe, Carlos Strong and Tyler Morris from his predecessor Dennis Wolff, Chambers’ blueprint and plans for BU basketball began to come to fruition as the team hit its stride late in the season, going on a run that got it within one game of the NCAA Tournament.

The next logical step in this pseudo-construction project would be to lay the foundation, but entering the 2010-11 season, uncertainty reigned for what would be a very telling season in Chambers’ tenure.

Wolff’s former players were gone to graduation and filling that large void would be three transfers and seven freshmen brought in by Chambers.

Despite being picked yet again to finish first in the AE preseason coaches’ poll, there was a lingering doubt as to whether all these new parts could come together to form a strong, cohesive unit. The results of such an experiment could also have a large effect on the perception of Chambers’ plan for the program. After all, no building can stand on faulty groundwork.

Through much of the Terriers’ non-conference slate, such fears surrounding a remodeled team appeared justified. Though BU (21-14) got off to a respectable 4-3 start, highlighted by a 76-67 win over George Washington University in the Preseason National Invitational Tournament, it failed to find much consistency on a game-to-game basis and struggled shooting the basketball, shooting 40 percent or below from the field in five of its first seven games.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

From the FreeP: Holland's final games confirm his status as all-time BU great

By Jack Flagler/DFP Staff

If the Boston University basketball season had ended two weeks ago, senior forward John Holland would have hung up his jersey as one of the program’s best players of the last decade. He finished second on BU’s all-time scoring list and delivered a handful of highlight-reel dunks every season.

But after Holland’s performance in the final two games of the season, he will be remembered as one of BU’s best ever.

Holland single-handedly willed a flat Terrier squad to victory over Stony Brook University and an America East title. Then, he put the team on his shoulders again to keep BU close against the University of Kansas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

After four years and hundreds of games in a BU uniform, Holland will be most remembered for those last two performances.

Kansas coach Bill Self praised him as a player who could contribute in the Big 12 Conference, and for one half against KU, he was the best player on the floor. He scored 15 points in the first 20 minutes and kept BU within four points before Kansas went on a second-half run to put the game away.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

From the FreeP: Watching BU keep up with Kansas through first half was something special

By Shep Hayes/DFP Staff

As the clock struck seven in Tulsa, Okla., on Friday, the sun set over the Arkansas River. Slowly, quietly and without protest, the great ball of fire slid under the horizon and darkness began to fall on the “Gateway to Oklahoma’s Green Country.”

A few blocks east of where the river separates the city into two parts, on the edge of downtown Tulsa, the sun was also setting on the 2010-11 Boston University men’s basketball season. In front of a mostly hostile crowd that had made the four-hour drive down from Lawrence, Kan., the Terriers slipped out of the bright lights of March Madness.

Thirty-five games after the season began in mid-November against Northeastern University, the Terriers’ season came to a close in the second round of the NCAA Tournament against the No. 1 University of Kansas Jayhawks

The Terriers, the No. 16 seed in the Southwest regional, would not make history. In 107 prior attempts, the 16 seeds had lost to the one seeds. Friday night, of course, was no different. For the 108th straight time in NCAA history, the lower ranked team lost.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Former BU men’s bball coach to head Virginia Tech women’s team

By Craig Meyer/DFP Staff

After a two-year absence, Dennis Wolff has re-joined the ranks of collegiate basketball head coaches, but this time around, he’ll be coaching in a whole different game – literally.

The former Boston University men’s basketball coach was named as the head coach of the women’s basketball program at Virginia Tech University Tuesday.

The hiring was confirmed by several Virginia news outlets on Monday after Sam Perkins of One-Bid Wonders first reported the school’s decision on Sunday.

Wolff headed the Terrier men’s basketball program for 15 seasons, compiling an overall record of 247-197, a mark that makes him BU basketball’s all-time winningest coach. In his time on Commonwealth Avenue, Wolff led the Terriers to five America East regular-season championships and two appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

He was fired following the conclusion of the 2008-09 season after his team fell to University of Maryland-Baltimore County in the quarterfinals of the AE Tournament, and was replaced by current BU head coach and then-Villanova University assistant Patrick Chambers.

This marks the first time Wolff has ever been a collegiate women’s head coach. His daughter Nicole was the 2002 McDonald’s Player of the Year before playing at the University of Connecticut.

The 56-year-old Wolff is taking the Virginia Tech women’s job after spending a year as the director of basketball operations for coach Seth Greenberg and the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team.

Wolff replaces former coach Beth Dunkenberger, who went 110-104 in seven seasons with the program, but went just 11-19 and 1-13 in Atlantic Coast Conference play this past season.

Monday, March 21, 2011

From the FreeP: Holland proves he can hang with nation's best

By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff

TULSA, Okla. – As he sat at the podium in the BOK Center’s media room after the Terriers’ 72-53 loss to Kansas, senior forward John Holland was asked what his emotions were following the whole NCAA tournament experience and his last game in a Boston University uniform.

Holland answered the first part of the question by saying it was an experience he would never forget. Then he paused.

“I’m OK,” he said a moment later. “We played as hard as we could. We left it all out on the floor. So I’m OK.”

Next to Holland, BU coach Patrick Chambers let a brief smile come over his face before looking down. After Holland left the stage and returned to the locker room, Chambers explained his reaction.


From the FreeP: BU trip to Big Dance a short but memorable one

By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff

TULSA, Okla. — Terrier fans couldn’t have asked for a better first half from the Boston University men’s basketball team in its first NCAA game in nine years. Senior forward John Holland netted 15 points, freshman forward Dom Morris knocked down a pair of big 3s and the 16th-seeded Terriers found themselves trailing top-seeded University of Kansas by just four points at the break.

Unfortunately for BU, the Jayhawks (33-2) hit their stride and started the second half on a 10-3 run. The Terriers (21-14) chipped away and managed to cut the lead to six with 10 minutes to go, but Kansas promptly answered with a 13-2 run and cruised the rest of the way to a 72-53 victory.

“I’m proud of our team. I’m proud of our guys,” said BU coach Patrick Chambers after the game. “They showed that we’re going to go out and play BU basketball for 40 minutes, and if that’s good enough, that’s great. If not, that’s OK, too. Kansas is terrific. They’re a well-balanced team and they can hurt you in many different ways, and that’s what happened on that little run.”


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Terriers never fazed even in loss to Jayhawks

By Craig Meyer/DFP Staff

Throughout the season for the Boston University men's basketball team, BU coach Patrick Chambers emphasized the importance of his team continually working to improve and "tapping the stone," but ultimately, it was a rock that proved to be too much for the Terriers to crack -- a Rock Chalk Jayhawk, that is.

But even in a losing effort to the No. 1 seed University of Kansas, BU, as it had for much of the season, put on the proverbial blinders and remained as focused as ever going into the game.

None of the outside influences and distractions seemed to matter to a Terriers team that was seemingly the only group of people that didn't give much credence to the high stakes of the program's first NCAA Tournament game in almost a decade. To them, it was just as every other game was to them throughout the season, be it against University of Maryland-Baltimore County or the University of Kentucky -- it was simply the next game on their schedule, and they prepared for it and treated it as such.

"We went into this game very prepared," Chambers said. "It was the next game on our schedule and we stuck to our gameplan. Unfortunately, we needed to make shots at a certain time and we couldn't, but we were very prepared to play this game."

The concerted effort to maintain focus and composure heading into the game's biggest stage began as early as Selection Sunday when the Terriers were announced as a No. 16 seed. Many felt that given BU's 129 ranking in the Ratings Percentage Index and its relation to other automatic qualifiers that it was very possible that Chambers and his squad would be a No. 15 seed.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Terriers fall to Kansas, 72-53, in NCAA second round

By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff

TULSA, Okla. -- The No. 16 seed Boston University men's basketball team hung tough for a half, but the top-seeded University of Kansas was too much for the Terriers to handle in the second, as the Jayhawks ultimately cruised to a 72-53 victory to advance to the third round of the NCAA tournament.

Both teams started slow, but the offenses picked it up as the first half went on, with BU matching Kansas bucket-for-bucket most of the way. Senior John Holland led the way for the Terriers with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting in the first. Freshman Dom Morris added a pair of big 3-pointers and sophomore Jeff Pelage came up with an emphatic block on Marcus Morris seconds before the intermission.

The Jayhawks came out flying in the second half, though. They started with a 10-3 run and never looked back, as the Terriers struggled to knock down shots for the remainder of the game.

BU vs. Kansas Live Blog - NCAA Second Round

Defending the Morris twins no easy task for Terriers

By René Reyes and Craig Meyer/DFP Staff

In the America East, the Boston University men’s basketball team has matched up down low against the likes of University of Vermont’s Evan Fjeld and University of New Hampshire’s Dane DiLiegro.

Friday night, it will face off against entirely different big men in the University of Kansas’ Marcus and Markieff Morris, ironically nicknamed the “Twin Towers.” The Morris twins have been a dominating force all season long for the Jayhawks and make up one of the nation’s most skilled frontcourts. Marcus is listed at 6-foot-9 while his brother Markieff stands an inch taller at 6-foot-10.

For the 6-foot-6 junior forward Patrick Hazel, who will be called upon to guard one of the twins, sticking to BU’s defensive principles could go a long way in limiting the Morris twins’ offensive production for the Jayhawks.

“They’re two great players, the twins,” Hazel said at the NCAA Tournament Press Conference. “They do have a good reputation, so we’re focused on what the entire team does, and we’re definitely focused more on what we do. We’ll try on to execute our game plan to the best of our ability. I feel like we’ve been preparing to do that all week.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Positional breakdown of matchups between BU and Kansas

By Craig Meyer/DFP Staff

As we at Full Court Press have been doing here in the final stretch of the season for the Boston University men's basketball team, we will be analyzing BU's matchups against a given opponent that in this case happens to be the University of Kansas.

What usually happens in these write-ups is we pick a winner of every matchup, but against a team like the Jayhawks, such a method becomes an exercise in futility. Kansas and BU are simply two different programs on two different levels of the college basketball echelon, meaning it's relatively moot to try to even compare the teams' players, for Kansas will always predictably come out on top every time.

However, what we will do instead is take a look at each of the individual matchups, examining key points even if it means not picking a winner. Also of note is that against a team like Kansas, one-on-one matchups may not hold true because BU will likely try to avoid playing man-on-man defense against a far more talented team like the Jayhawks; but for the sake of comparison, it's easiest just to go position by position.

Point guard: D.J. Irving v. Tyshawn Taylor
A matchup of the respective team leaders in assists, this should be one of the more intriguing face-offs, pitting the two speediest players on the court against each other. Taylor has struggled at times trying to fill the void left by the graduation of Sherron Collins, but is averaging 9.1 points per game in addition to a team-high 4.5 assists per game. While Taylor is a fast decision-maker who rarely unnecessarily hangs on to the ball too long, he still sports an average of 2.7 turnovers per game. Some would also go so far as to say his questionable decision-making is reflected by his violation of team rules that led to a suspension on Feb. 21 that kept him out of two of KU's games. That said, his speed, quick first step and change of direction ability allows him to orchestrate a fast-paced Jayhawk attack.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday's practice open to Boston media

Numbers crunch: the Kansas Jayhawks

By Craig Meyer/DFP Staff

As the Boston University men's basketball team awaits its Friday night game against the University of Kansas, Full Court Press will be doing a series of articles on the game, focusing on the Terriers as well as their opponent.

This will begin today with a quick statistical rundown of the top-seeded Jayhawks.

Leading Scorers
Marcus Morris, F: 17.3 PPG
Markieff Morris, F: 13.6 PPG
Tyrel Reed, G: 10.0 PPG
Tyshawn Taylor, G: 9.1 PPG
Josh Selby, G: 8.7 PPG

NOTE: While the Morris twins may understandably get most of the headlines, this is a balanced scoring attack, with dynamic scoring threats in the frontcourt and backcourt.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday at T's Pub

Below is BU's reaction on Selection Sunday at T's Pub and Part 1 of Patrick Chambers' interview. Find his five-part interview, and the reactions of John Holland, Matt Griffin, Patrick Hazel and Darryl Partin to drawing Kansas in the NCAA Tournament after the jump.

BU to face No. 1 seed Kansas in first round of NCAA Tournament

By Craig Meyer and René Reyes/DFP Staff

After much tension, anticipation and deliberation, the brackets have been drawn and the No. 16 seed Boston University men's basketball team will face the No. 1 seed University of Kansas on Friday, March 18 in Tulsa, Okla.

The Terriers (21-13) will be making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002, a year in which they were also a No. 16 seed, losing 90-52 to the No. 1 seed University of Cincinnati.

"I haven't had this feeling in a long time since I was at Villanova the one year we were the last team in," said BU coach Patrick Chambers. "You're sitting there with butterflies and the suspense. ... And then you see Kansas, you're like, 'Wow, we get to go to Oklahoma to play Kansas.' What a great thrill for these guys, this program, this university."

This marks the second straight year that Kansas coach Bill Self and the Jayhawks (32-2) will be a No. 1 seed, having been the tournament's overall No. 1 seed last year, only to lose 69-67 in the second round to the University of Northern Iowa.

Holland's heroics in AE championship game rally Terriers to first Big Dance since 2002

By Luke Coughlan/DFP Staff

Even after storming back from a 15-point deficit with 16:47 to play in the America East Championship game for a 56-54 win against fifth-seeded Stony Brook University on Saturday afternoon, the Boston University men's basketball team has yet to break head coach Patrick Chambers' proverbial 'stone' that it has been tapping at all year long.

However, Chambers admitted from the Agganis Arena media room podium following the contest that the stone, a symbol for an obstacle that the Terriers must overcome in order to be playing their best basketball, has a crack in it.

“There is definitely a crack in that stone,” Chambers said. “But, I think we could play better. I think we could get more contributions from different guys.”

Once the dust that resulted around the stone following BU's (21-13) first America East Championship victory since 2002 settles, one man will be seen with one hand cradling a basketball and the other etching his name next to the enormous fissure that he single-handedly blasted into the stone's surface. That man will be senior forward John Holland.

Women's basketball drops 65-53 decision to Hartford in AE title game

By Tim Healey/DFP Staff

After an up and down regular season, the Boston University women’s basketball team hoped for an America East championship and a trip to the NCAA tournament but fell short Saturday night as it lost to University of Hartford 65-53 at Case Gymnasium.

“Well, obviously this is a tough loss for our team, our program. We didn’t get the outcome that we wanted, and certainly that we expected,” said BU coach Kelly Greenberg, “but our girls played hard. And as I told my players in the huddle, there is not a group I would rather coach in America than this group of young women. They represent what college athletics should always be about, and I’m proud of every single one of them.”

BU (17-14, 12-4 AE) came out fast and went up 7-3 early in the first half on a 3-pointer by senior guard Kat Briggs, but Hartford (17-15, 11-5 AE) countered with nine straight points to take a 12-7 lead.

The team struggled with shooting throughout the first half, managing only 33.3 percent from the field including 1-of-5 on 3-pointers, but it was able to hang around with the Hawks, who shot 35.7 percent. The Terriers were down just a manageable six points at the half, 27-21.

BU clinches NCAA Tournament berth with captivating 56-54 victory over Stony Brook

By René Reyes/DFP Staff

As bedlam ensued at Agganis Arena Saturday afternoon and fans stormed the court to join his players in celebration, Boston University men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers climbed onto press row and pumped his fists in the air.

Wearing his championship cap, Chambers yelled out a slew of words to the crowd still in its seats and savored the historic moment in jubilant fashion, as BU had claimed its first America East conference title since 2002 with a thrilling 56-54 win over Stony Brook University in front of 3,845 fans at The Greek.

The second-seeded Terriers (21-13) wouldn’t have earned the America East’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament if it weren’t for the heroics of their lone senior and star player John Holland down the stretch.

The 6-foot-5 forward from the Bronx, N.Y., poured in a game-high 27 points – 23 of them coming in a scintillating and dominating second-half performance – and sunk two go-ahead free throws with 2.4 seconds left in regulation, helping BU secure its seventh overall appearance in the Big Dance.

“I’m really proud of this group,” Chambers said. “They worked hard and that’s something that we talked about, keeping a great attitude. Hardest working team in the country and they really displayed it today. To only take the lead with two seconds to go is not how I drew it up, but I’ll take it.”

Grading the Terriers: 3/12 vs. Stony Brook -- AE Championship

By Craig Meyer/DFP Staff

Senior forward John Holland: A+
I think this is only the second A+ any one of us FCP writers has given a BU player this year, but this is certainly well-deserved. To call what all transpired at Agganis Arena yesterday a storybook ending for the Bronx, N.Y., native would be to drastically understate things.

After only notching four points in the first half, Holland all but put the entire team on his shoulders, the weight and pressure of the moment on his back, to score 23 of the team's 33 second-half points and send his team to the Promised Land. Sure, his 8-of-19 performance from the field wasn't particularly great, and there was also some debate as to whether he was actually fouled there in the last few seconds (it wasn't anything worse than what the refs were giving Kemba Walker against Louisville). But certain performances transcend the box score, even a box score that features a double-double with 27 points and 11 rebounds.

With BU down by as much as 15 in the second half, the team turned to its leader and he responded to that challenge -- and more -- in the biggest game of his life, culminating in a successful career and cementing a storied legacy in the history of BU basketball.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

BU-Stony Brook Press Conferences -- AE Tournament Final

BU-Stony Brook Slideshow -- America East Tournament Final

All photos by Michael Cummo/DFP Staff

2011 America East Tournament Final -- BU vs. Stony Brook Live Blog

Starting lineups:
Stony Brook University Seawolves

F Danny Carter
F Dallis Joyner
G Bryan Dougher
G Leonard Hayes
G Chris Martin

Boston University Terriers
F John Holland
F Dom Morris
C Patrick Hazel
G Darryl Partin
G D.J. Irving

Final Score: BU 56, Stony Brook 54

Team leaders:
SBU: Leonard Hayes, 14
BU: John Holland, 27

SBU: Leonard Hayes, 9
BU: John Holland, 11

SBU: Chris Martin, 3
BU: D.J. Irving and Matt Griffin, 1

Thursday, March 10, 2011

From the FreeP: Holland’s last shot to dance

By René Reyes/DFP Staff

John Holland remembers walking off the court of Patrick Gym in last year’s America East Championship game, and that feeling of losing is something he’ll never forget.

To make matters worse, the 6-foot-5 swingman from the Bronx, N.Y., struggled throughout last season’s AE tournament. He capped it off by totaling just nine points on 3-of-11 shooting in the conference title game, as the Boston University men’s basketball team dropped an 83-70 decision to University of Vermont.

The Catamounts earned an automatic NCAA Tournament berth and celebrated with their jubilant fans at center court, while Holland and the Terriers left Burlington, Vt., in a daze after seeing their Big Dance aspirations come to an abrupt end.

“It was just heartbreak, disappointment,” Holland said. “Anytime you make it so far and fall short, you’re going to feel some type of major disappointment. You give everything you have for the whole year, and to fall short, it’s tough.”


From the FreeP: Chambers envisions BU as mid-major powerhouse

By Craig Meyer/DFP Staff

From the moment that Boston University men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers stepped up to the podium on April 7, 2009 to be introduced as the program’s next head man, he had a vision for Terrier basketball, a look to the future of the program that has produced immediate dividends.

He has looked to have his teams embody his personality, something of an aggressive and passionate mix of defense and rebounding paired with a high-octane offense that utilizes quick transitions and fast break opportunities.

He has put a special emphasis on “Attitude,” a core tenant that if his players continually look to get better, work hard and tap at the proverbial stone, that together, they will ultimately be successful.

But perhaps more than anything, Chambers has looked to change BU basketball far beyond the X’s and O’s of game preparation and execution.

From the FreeP: Terriers right a sinking ship after tough loss to UNH, ride wave to championship game

By Craig Meyer/DFP Staff

After a 60-48 loss to University of New Hampshire, it appeared that the Boston University men’s basketball team was on the verge of collapse, if not at that point already.

The Terriers had not only suffered their most humiliating loss of the season at the hands of one of the America East Conference’s worst teams—playing without two of its best players, no less—but it was their third loss in the last five games.

With an overall record of 10-13 with just eight games remaining in the regular season, it seemed like the Terriers, the preseason pick to win the America East title, were following an all-too-familiar script—high expectations followed by underwhelming play and utter disappointment.

When it seemed as though fortune could get no worse for the Terriers, it did with the news of a season-ending foot injury to junior forward Jake O’Brien, a preseason all-conference selection and the team’s leading rebounder at the time.


From the FreeP: M. bball one game away from NCAA tournament

By Luke Coughlan/DFP Staff

The Boston University men’s basketball team is not going to crack.

All season long, BU coach Patrick Chambers and his squad have been preaching the benefits of taking it one game at a time, getting better with each test and treating each contest like every other.

It should come as no surprise that less than 72 hours removed from the America East Conference championship game against Stony Brook University to be held at noon on Saturday at Agganis Arena, Chambers and his resilient group are as calm, cool and collected as Arthur Fonzarelli when he hit the juke box or Cool Hand Luke when he shook the world.

“It’s the championship game,” said junior forward and tri-captain Patrick Hazel. “It’s huge. But we can’t fall asleep on anybody. We have to come in with the same mindset that we’ve had the entire year. It’s the championship game. Everything is on the line, but we just look at it as another regular season game.”


Monday, March 7, 2011

From the FreeP: Transfers shine in narrow semifinal victory

By Luke Coughlan/DFP Staff

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Boston University men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers knew that he would need to recruit some experience for his second-year squad when he took the helm for a Terrier team with nine seniors last season. With just four returning players lined up for his second year leading the team, Chambers recruited junior transfer students Patrick Hazel, Matt Griffin and Darryl Partin, and on Sunday night, they returned the favor in a big way, each putting his signature on a 55-49 America East tournament semifinal victory over University of Hartford.

In one of the most closely contested games of the tournament thus far, the Terriers’ three journeymen each posted impressive numbers. They radiated poise and composure all game long on their opponent’s home court and with more than 2,000 Hawks fans doing their best to distract them.

“I’m really proud of these guys because when things were against us they kept a great attitude,” Chambers said of his team following the victory. “They kept grinding. They kept playing. They didn’t get down. They didn’t hang their heads once. They really showed their maturity. I’m really proud of them.”

Although senior forward John Holland dominated the stat sheet with a game-high 16 points and a team-leading seven rebounds, it would be hard to argue that BU would be hosting the AE championship game on Saturday without any of the three transfers.

Hazel was BU’s leading presence under the basket all game long. Not only did Hazel do what he does best to the tune of two dunks for a perfect 2-for-2 shooting clip from the field, four rebounds and the game’s only three blocks, he also did well in one aspect where he has struggled all season long: free-throw shooting.


From the FreeP: Terriers keep calm, carry on to AE finals

By René Reyes/DFP Staff

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The sweat on Boston University men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers’ forehead said it all.

Sitting at the podium alongside junior forward Patrick Hazel, junior guard Matt Griffin and senior forward John Holland for BU’s postgame press conference, Chambers breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that his squad is just one win away from a trip to the NCAA Tournament and will host fifth-seeded Stony Brook University in the conference title game next Saturday at Agganis Arena.

The Terriers earned that right Sunday night, when they escaped Chase Family Arena with a valiant and hard-fought 55-49 victory over sixth-seeded University of Hartford before a hostile crowd of 2,169 in the semifinal round of the America East tournament.

“Wow, that was a battle,” Chambers said. “That was a battle. I give a ton of credit to Hartford and coach [John] Gallagher. They didn’t give up an inch…That’s one of those games that you say it’s a shame somebody has to win or lose because both teams competed so hard and gave everything they had in that 40 minutes.”

Holland poured in a game-high 16 points, Griffin added nine of his own and Hazel recorded three blocks to pace the second-seeded Terriers (20-14), whose 10th consecutive win propelled them to BU’s America East-record 15th championship game, their second straight with Chambers as their bench boss.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

BU-Hartford Press Conferences -- AE Tournament Semifinal

Grading the Terriers: 3/6 vs. University of Hartford -- AE Tournament Semifinal

By Craig Meyer/DFP Staff

Senior forward John Holland: B
For Holland, who was coming off of an ankle injury and the inherent pressure that comes with being named AE POY just days before, the performance against the Hawks was solid, if unspectacular. There were great moments, but also some very forgettable ones. On the day, Holland shot 3-of-10 from the field and seemed, at times, that he was unwilling to assert himself and carry his team on his back. He would pass on open shots and pull back when he should have kept driving, and made a few head-scratching turnovers.

However, even statistically, Holland's play was nothing at which to scoff. He pulled down a team-high seven rebounds, dished a game-high three assists and forced two steals. And with his team up two points with eight seconds left, he swished home two free throws to all but earn his team a spot in the championship game. It may have not been his best outing of the season, but Holland --scoring his team's final five points -- came up biggest when his team needed him the absolute most.

Live Blog: 2011 America East Tournament -- Semifinals

Stony Brook-Vermont Semifinal Score: Stony Brook 69, Vermont 47

Starting lineups:
University of Hartford Hawks

F Morgan Sabia
F Anthony Minor
G Clayton Brothers
G Joe Zeglinski
G Milton Burton

Boston University Terriers
F John Holland
F Dom Morris
C Patrick Hazel
G Darryl Partin
G D.J. Irving

Final Score: BU 55, Hartford 49

Team leaders:
Hartford: Morgan Sabia and Genesis Maciel, 13
BU: John Holland, 16

Hartford: Joe Zeglinski, 8
BU: John Holland, 7

Hartford: Anthony Minor, 3
BU: John Holland and D.J. Irving, 3

Terriers prepare to take on host Hartford in AE Tournament semifinals

By Craig Meyer/DFP Staff

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – After overcoming a slow start to get past the University of New Hampshire in the America East Tournament quarterfinals, the Boston University men's basketball team will prepare for a different challenge entirely in the semifinals as it takes on the host University of Hartford Sunday night at Chase Family Arena.

The Hawks, the tournament's sixth-seed, enter the game fresh off of a 66-63 win over the third-seeded University of Maine, a win seemingly so monumental for Hartford that its fans rushed the court as the final buzzer sounded.

The Terriers, however, will do all that is within their power to prevent a similar celebration as they try to extend a season-high nine-game win streak and make their second consecutive conference championship game appearance in the process.

After the first five minutes of its game against New Hampshire, it appeared as though BU was on track to see not only its win streak end, but also its once-promising season.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

BU knocks off UNH, 69-60, in quarterfinal; advances to AE semis against Hartford

By Luke Coughlan/DFP Staff

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – The University of New Hampshire men’s basketball team is not, by any stretch of the imagination, an offensive juggernaut of the America East Conference.

Rather, the Wildcats (12-18, 6-10 AE) have earned their wins all season long because of a stifling defense, a knack for rebounding, and strong, physical play. Despite the fact that they only garnered the number-seven seed for the AE tournament, their physicality alone made them one of the toughest opponents to draw for the quarterfinals.

But in defiant fashion, the Boston University men’s basketball team beat them at their own game on Saturday night, snagging a hard-fought 69-60 victory to advance to the semifinals of the tournament to take place on Sunday at 7:30 pm.

“I was proud of [my players],” BU head coach Patrick Chambers said. “We definitely ground it out and did a pretty good job down the stretch.”

The Terriers (19-13, 13-4 AE) were led offensively by senior forward John Holland, who scored a game-high 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting in his first game back from an ankle sprain suffered against Binghamton University on February 24.


Holland bounces back easily from injury in quarterfinal win over Wildcats

By Craig Meyer/DFP Staff

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — Even with a successful regular season completed and his first America East Player of the Year Award firmly in hand, there seemed to be more speculation, uncertainty and concern for senior forward John Holland and the Boston University men’s basketball team as they entered their quarterfinal game against University of New Hampshire in the conference tournament on Saturday.

Questions lingered and festered surrounding the status of Holland’s left ankle, which he injured in the first half in the Terriers’ 53-51 win over Binghamton University on Feb. 24. It was an ailment that forced him out of BU’s final regular season game, a 66-64 win over the University of Vermont last Sunday. It kept him on crutches for several days following the Binghamton game, keeping him in a limited capacity in the team’s practices leading up to the AE Tournament.

Is this how the decorated senior’s career was destined to end, reduced to sitting out or limping around the court as his team chased the conference’s ultimate prize, a championship and a coveted berth in the NCAA Tournament – two things which Holland has yet to accomplish in his time on Commonwealth Ave?

After an almost nine-day period of so much doubt and skepticism, maybe it’s fitting that the Bronx, N.Y. native was able to work through it all with relative ease, giving an indication of how much credence he gave the questions surrounding his ankle.


BU-UNH Press Conferences -- AE Tournament Quarterfinal

Grading the Terriers: 3/5 vs. UNH -- AE Tournament Quarterfinal

By René Reyes/DFP Staff

Offense: B+
Entering their quarterfinal matchup against the Wildcats, the Terriers were averaging 65.8 points per game, good for third in the conference behind Vermont and Maine. This evening, the Terriers poured in 69 points, connecting on an impressive 23-of-50 shots from the field (46 percent). Down 12-3 in only the contest’s first few minutes, BU went on a 30-18 spurt to close the half, aided by a combined 17 first-half points from senior forward John Holland and junior guard Matt Griffin. A B+ may seem too generous of a grade for the Terriers considering their struggles out of the gate, but when the game mattered the most, the Terriers were able to get their shots to fall.

Live Blog: 2011 America East Tournament -- Quarterfinals

Stony Brook-Albany Quarterfinal Score: Stony Brook 67, Albany 61

Vermont-Binghamton Quarterfinal Score: Vermont 57, Binghamton 46

Starting lineups:
University of New Hampshire Wildcats

F Chandler Rhoads
F Brian Benson
C Dane DiLiegro
G Jordon Bronner
G Tyrone Conley

Boston University Terriers
F John Holland
F Dom Morris
C Patrick Hazel
G Darryl Partin
G D.J. Irving

Final score: BU 69, UNH 60

Team leaders:
UNH: Tyrone Conley, 16
BU: John Holland, 17

UNH: Brian Benson, 11
BU: Patrick Hazel, 10

UNH: Chandler Rhoads, 4
BU: Matt Griffin, 2

Hartford-Maine Quarterfinal Score: Hartford 66, Maine 63

Friday, March 4, 2011

Holland's AE POY highlights slew of BU awards recipients

By Craig Meyer and René Reyes/DFP Staff

After a long and storied career in the America East Conference, Boston University men's basketball senior forward John Holland was recognized with the conference's highest honor Friday afternoon, being awarded the 2011 America East Player of the Year in Hartford, Conn.

Holland was one of several Terriers to receive postseason accolades, as junior guard Darryl Partin joined Holland as a first team all-conference honoree, junior forward Patrick Hazel was honored as an AE first team all-defensive performer, and freshmen Dom Morris and D.J. Irving were named to the all-rookie team.

Holland, a preseason all-conference selection, is averaging 19.2 points per game and 5.7 rebounds a game for the Terriers, helping pace the team to a 18-13 regular season mark, including a 12-4 record in conference play, BU's best AE record since 2004.

It is the Bronx, N.Y., native's first AE Player of the Year award after being a finalist each of the past two seasons.

Partin collected first team all-conference honors playing in his first year in the league after transferring to BU from La Salle University in 2009. In AE play, Partin emerged as a viable second scoring option for the Terriers in wake of a season-ending foot injury to junior forward Jake O'Brien, averaging 14.9 PPG and 3.4 RPG, including 16.9 PPG in 16 conference games.

Like Partin, Hazel was also able to capture a postseason honor in just his first year in the AE. After transferring from Marquette University, Hazel quickly became a formidable low-post presence for the Terriers. While he only averaged 4.5 PPG for the season, the tri-captain was second in the conference in blocks per game with 1.8 while averaging 5.8 RPG, ranking him 11th in the AE.

Both highly-touted members of BU coach Patrick Chambers' first major recruiting class to BU, Morris and Irving were able to provide significant contributions for a battered and retooled BU team in just their freshman year. Irving, a speedy Chester, Pa., product, averaged 7.9 PPG to go along with a team-high 3.8 assists per game, ranking him third among all AE players. Morris posted averages of 5.5 PPG and 4.6 RPG while being able to provide BU with interior toughness and an uncanny ability to shoot 3-pointers for a player his size.

Coincidentally enough, the five BU honorees were the starting unit in every one of the Terriers' games on their current season-high eight-game win streak.

The Terriers will now try to translate the postseason accolades to success on the court as they begin a possible run to the NCAA Tournament against the University of New Hampshire at 6:05 p.m. in the AE Tournament quarterfinals at Chase Family Arena in Hartford.

Below are the full awards for the America East 2010-11 season:

Major Awards:

Kevin Roberson Player of the Year
John Holland, Boston University

Coach of the Year
Mike Lonergan, Vermont

Rookie of the Year
Brian Voelkel, Vermont

Defensive Player of the Year
Brendan Bald, Vermont

All-Conference Awards:

Troy Barnies Sr. F Maine
Tim Ambrose Sr. G Albany
John Holland Sr. G/F Boston University
Darryl Partin Jr. G Boston University
Evan Fjeld Sr. F Vermont

Joe Zeglinski Sr. G Hartford
Gerald McLemore Jr. G Maine
Chris De La Rosa Jr. G UMBC
Tyrone Conley Sr. G New Hampshire
Bryan Dougher Jr. G Stony Brook

Logan Aronhalt So. G Albany
Mike Black So. G Albany
Mahamoud Jabbi Sr. F Binghamton
Morgan Sabia Sr. F Hartford
Brendan Bald So. G Vermont

All-Rookie Team
Luke Devlin Fr. F Albany
D.J. Irving Fr. G Boston University
Dom Morris Fr. F Boston University
Jordon Bronner Fr. G New Hampshire
Brian Voelkel Fr. F Vermont

All-Defensive Team
Mahamoud Jabbi Sr. F Binghamton
Patrick Hazel Jr. F Boston University
Milton Burton Sr. G/F Hartford
Chandler Rhoads So. G New Hampshire
Brendan Bald So. G Vermont

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Pre-AE Tournament Interviews: Patrick Chambers, Matt Griffin, Pat Hazel

On Thursday afternoon at Case Gymnasium, we had the chance to catch up with Boston University men's basketball coach Patrick Chambers, junior guard Matt Griffin and junior forward Pat Hazel and ask them their thoughts regarding the America East Tournament and the team's quarterfinal matchup Saturday at 6 p.m. against the University of New Hampshire. Their comments are posted below.

From the FreeP: Home-court advantage key for BU in tournament

By Jack Flagler/DFP Staff

The Boston University men’s basketball team has the strongest home-court advantage in the America East. BU has dropped just two games in Boston this year, and in conference play, the team was a perfect 7-0 (one “home” game was a victory over University at Albany at Madison Square Garden).

Meanwhile, the team struggled to win on the road. BU’s 4-10 overall away record is slightly misleading. The team won its last three games away from Boston including an overtime victory on Sunday over conference champs University of Vermont. But BU also dropped winnable games at University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Hartford University and University of New Hampshire this year.

If you have attended a BU basketball game recently, you may be confused as to where this home court advantage comes from. Generally we think of great home courts as places like Duke University’s Cameron Indoor Stadium, University of Kentucky’s Rupp Arena or The Spectrum at Utah State University.

Those teams play off the energy of their loud student sections that sit nearly on top of the court. Their home-court advantage comes from thousands of fans intimidating opposing teams with chants, costumes, ear-splitting noise and general insanity. Not surprisingly, none of those three squads have lost at home this season.


From the FreeP: Young Terriers aim to prove themselves in postseason

By Luke Coughlan/DFP Staff

When the Boston University men’s basketball team took the Agganis Arena floor on Nov. 8 to preview the 2010-‘11 season with a scrimmage in front of its home fans, there were more questions and uncertainties surrounding it than there had been in a number of years.

Would junior center Jeff Pelage be able to return from an ankle injury and make an impact on the season? How would the Terriers perform in the post-Corey Lowe/Carlos Strong/Tyler Morris era? Would three transfer students and seven freshmen be able to rise to the challenge and contribute to the team in senior forward John Holland’s last year at BU?

And, perhaps the largest question looming in the minds of the Terrier faithful: how on earth could a patchwork, young and inexperienced team bring the Terriers to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002 if last year’s squad, complete with nine seniors, couldn’t do it?

Flash forward nearly four months later on the cusp of the America East tournament, and it is safe to say that the Terriers (18-13, 12-4 AE) have answered most of those questions loudly and clearly.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fjeld wins AE Fans' Player of the Year over Holland

By Craig Meyer/DFP Staff

University of Vermont forward Evan Fjeld was announced as the 2011 America East Fans' Choice Player of the Year today in Cambridge, beating out Boston University senior forward John Holland.

Fjeld, a preseason all-conference selection, is averaging career-bests this season in both points (14.9) and rebounds (6.3) en route to helping his Catamounts team to the AE regular season title.

The senior and Durham, N.C., native emerged as the victor from a crowded field that started at 18 nominees (two from each AE school) before fans narrowed the list down to five finalists after a first round of voting. The other finalists included Holland, University of Maine forward Troy Barnies, University of New Hampshire forward Tyrone Conley and fellow Vermont forward Brian Voelkel.

Fjeld's win now marks the third time in the past five seasons that a Vermont player has captured the Fans' Player of the Year honor.

The awards for AE Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year and Rookie of the Year -- all determined by the conference's coaches -- will be announced on Friday.

From the FreeP: BU holds positional edge over UNH in quarterfinal

By René Reyes/DFP Staff

As the Boston University men’s basketball team prepares to square off against University of New Hampshire Saturday in the quarterfinal round of the America East Conference Tournament, here’s a positional breakdown of the individual matchups:

CENTER: Patrick Hazel vs. Dane DiLiegro
The Terriers will call on Hazel, the transfer from Marquette University, to answer the bell defensively opposite one of the America East’s most skilled big men, the 6-foot-9, 250-pound DiLiegro. An efficient scorer, DiLiegro converted 52.1 percent of his field goal attempts and averaged 8.8 points per game during the regular season. Whether the Wildcats exploit DiLiegro’s overwhelming advantage over Hazel on the offensive end is anyone’s guess. On the defensive side of the ball, it’s more of the same. Though he is BU’s leading rebounder with nearly six boards a game, Hazel will have a hard time boxing out DiLiegro, who finished second in the conference with 8.2 rpg.
Edge: UNH.