By René Reyes/DFP Staff
Seventy-three points are nearly 10 points above what the Terriers have normally averaged during the course of the 2011-12 campaign (64.33 points per game entering Wednesday night). Darryl Partin dropped a game-high 27 points and outscored the nation's leading scorer in the Blue Hens' Devon Saddler by seven points. Yet, Partin did jack up a total of 26 shots to reach those 27 points, and on any other night, his 14 misses – he shot 12-of-26 from the field – could have proven to be BU's downfall. Luckily for DP, Travis Robinson picked up some of the scoring slack and had himself a career night with 16 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting, including four made 3-pointers and a rim-rattling two-handed flush. Speedy point guard D.J. Irving dished out a personal-best 11 dimes, but did seem rather hesitant pushing the ball up court and driving it down the defense's throat. Why the B-? Partin and Robinson were the only Terriers to score in double figures, while other players (Patrick Hazel, Dom Morris, Matt Griffin) hardly contributed on the offensive end.
Holding the country's top scorer in Saddler, who was averaging 24.5 ppg before Wednesday's matchup at Case Gymnasium, to 20 points is pretty darn impressive. Sadler had his moments in the first half, converting on four of the first six shots he attempted, but in the second session, the Terrier defense clamped down and forced him into 11 missed shots. He did finish with a team-high 20 points, but he had to work for every single one of those points. Hazel wasn't the same defensive presence against Delaware as he was in the three games over the past weekend when he was pulling down rebounds and swatting shots both left and right. He did record two blocks, but only snagged four boards in 24 minutes. To be a great defense, BU coach Joe Jones admitted in his postgame presser, a team needs rebounds from players other than its big men, and guards Partin and Irving answered the call. They led BU with seven rebounds apiece. The Blue Hens out-rebounded the Terriers by a slim 35-34 margin, but went on to shoot a paltry 28.6 percent in the second half, thanks in large part to BU's efforts on defense.
The bright side? The Terriers' bench outscored the Blue Hens' reserves by 11 points. The downside? It's becoming apparent that Jones is opting to have his starters log major minutes while utilizing his bench a lot less. Take a look at the starting five's PTs (playing times): Morris-26, Robinson-27, Hazel-24, Partin-35 and Irving-35. Without any suitable backups to Partin and Irving who can provide instant offense off the bench, Jones has been forced to keep the team's two leading scorers on the court a lot longer than he's probably wanted to. The last thing Jones wants to see is two of his most important players start breaking down and tiring themselves out with a whole slate of games remaining. For the reserves, Griffin netted three, Zach Chionuma four, James Kennedy zero and Jeff Pelage four points. One name that didn't appear anywhere on Wednesday's box score was Mike Terry Jr.'s. Last season for former coach Patrick Chambers, Terry Jr. was a high-energy guy who could be a spark off the bench. So far in Jones' tenure, he's barely had an impact. Seven games into the season and BU's lack of depth is really starting to show.
X-Factor: Travis Robinson's career night
Delaware coach Monté Ross was honest enough to say that Robinson just had "one of those games." When Robinson's averaging three points a game heading into the Terriers' tilt against the Blue Hens, and he ends his night with a perfect performance from the field (5-of-5), from 3-point territory (4-of-4) and from the free-throw line (2-of-2), what more can you really say? Delaware was conscious of Robinson's touch from behind the arc, but still, coach Ross wasn't expecting him to hit all four of his 3-balls. On a night when Partin struggled finding his shot, Robinson demonstrated to be a viable scoring option and given the freedom he's been given in Jones' '"inside-out" system, he's sure making the most of it. In Chambers' brand of BU basketball, Robinson's responsibility was mainly to defend and rebound. Now, he's not afraid to shoot the ball if he has a clear opportunity. Since being inserted into the starting lineup in place of Griffin last Friday against Cleveland State University, Robinson's slowly making a name for himself here at BU. A career-high 16 points in a winning effort certainly doesn't hurt.