Sunday, January 22, 2012

Snap Judgments: 1/22 @ Hartford

By Craig Meyer/DFP Staff

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. -- With the Boston University men's basketball team notching its sixth consecutive win with a 65-46 victory over the University of Hartford, it's time for some quick takes and thoughts on what went down at Chase Family Arena.

-- Let's just get one of the obvious things out of the way: that was one of the worst halfs of basketball I've seen on any level higher than pick-up games at my neighborhood YMCA. There is a fine line between good defense and bad offense, and that line was crossed and more. This isn't to say that the BU defense deserves no credit in holding Hartford to 13 first half points, because they certainly deserve some, but when the teams combine to shoot 12-for-48 in that half with a good portion of those shots being open looks, that's just teams not executing on the offensive end.

-- Darryl Partin may have been the team's leading scorer, but make no mistake: D.J. Irving was the Terriers' best performer Sunday. Irving was the model for offensive efficiency out on the floor today, shooting 6-of-7 and going 3-for-3 from 3-point range, the latter of which is a testament to the work he put in this offseason to improve what many saw as a weakness in his game last season. He commanded the floor and was the critical component in BU's offense throughout the game, all with seven assists to just two turnovers. The Terriers' MVP, for all intents and purposes, played like it.

-- It's hard to be too critical of BU's frontcourt since it was the large reason BU was able to outrebound the Hawks 39-17, but between Patrick Hazel and Dom Morris, someone has to finish those shots down low, some of which are even relatively uncontested. It wasn't a problem today against an overmatched Hartford team, but it's something that can come back to haunt them against better competition or in closer games.

-- After going 7-of-24 from the field in the first half, BU started the second half on a 7-of-9 tear. Furthermore, it only took BU just over six minutes in the second half to score 21 points, surpassing their point total from the first half in that brief time.

-- On a more individual level, Partin went off for 22 in the second half after playing only 11 minutes in the first half with foul trouble and an 0-4 shooting performance. But, as he has for the past few games lately, Partin exploded in the opening minutes of the second half and was responsible more than any other player for BU turning a pretty closely contested game into a blowout. I can't explain the difference in halfs myself, but 22 points is 22 points at the end of the day.

-- When Zach Chionuma makes 3-pointer, BU is 3-0 this season. For whatever that's worth.

-- Can't emphasize what a pleasant surprise Malik Thomas has been off the bench this season. When BU was struggling for much of the first half, Thomas was a spark of energy and smart play. As long as he's not shooting treys like he was today, Thomas could very well evolve into a matchup nightmare for America East coaches in the coming years.

-- Hartford has seven freshmen on its team this season, so take most of the Hawks' setbacks this season with a grain of salt. With a promising young core of Wes Cole, Yolanzo Moore, Mark Nwakamma and Nate Sikma, this will be a team that will compete for America East titles in two years. Count on it.

-- An easy game awaits BU on Tuesday against UMBC at Case Gym, but after that, it's a road date at Stony Brook that could ultimately decide the conference regular season champion and a home game against a Vermont team it has already lost to. The next few games will be very telling as to where this team is at this point in the season.

No comments: