Sunday, January 15, 2012

Despite cold start, Partin shines in second half against Seawolves

By Shep Hayes/DFP Staff

In the first half of its past two games, at the University of Maine on Wednesday evening and against Stony Brook University on Saturday afternoon, the Boston University men’s basketball team has played decent basketball. The Terriers were down by only six in Orono and then jumped out to a strong lead early in the SBU contest at Case Gymnasium. But, in both of those first halves, the Terriers' leading scorer and one of their primary offensive threats (along with D.J. Irving), has been quiet on offense.

Senior guard Darryl Partin has taken shots in the opening frame – 10 on Wednesday and six on Saturday – but they’ve failed to fall through the hoop, bouncing off the rim or the backboard and into the hands of either opponents or his fellow Terriers. In both contests, Partin made only one of his first-half field goal attempts.

The opening frame performances are not what one would expect from a player who averages 20.1 points per game, an average that puts him in a tie for 14th best in the nation.

Partin averaged 20 points or more in eight of the Terriers' first 10 contests, the only exceptions coming in blowout losses at the University of Texas, which BU lost 86-42 and Partin scored 14 points, and at Agganis Arena against a Harvard University Crimson team on the verge of entering the Associated Press Top 25. BU lost that contest as well by a score of 76-52 and Partin scored 12 points.

But, when Partin returned to the court for the second half in both contests, he left the locker room a completely different shooter. Partin shot 9-for-12 in the second against Maine and 8-for-11 versus Stony Brook. The transfer from LaSalle turns into a lethal weapon, making shot after shot after shot from all around the perimeter and occasionally on the inside.

In a back concourse of Alfond Arena on Wednesday, BU coach Joe Jones was impressed with Partin’s transformation.

“He was sensational and really got his groove back in the second half and really played well for us,” Jones said.

Jones continued the above thought on Wednesday, by noting that Partin’s performance as of late reminds him of how Partin was able to score when the Terriers earned their first four wins of the year, their only wins before conference play began last week.

When BU faced the University of Rhode Island and Hofstra University in Rhode Island as part of the Kingston Regional of the Ticket City Legends Classic, Partin scored 20 and 25 points, respectively. When BU earned its first home win of the year, playing former America East foe the University of Delaware, Partin had 27 points. And when the Terriers got their first win over Boston College at Conte Forum, Partin contributed 27 points.

“In the games that we won early in the year, Darryl played, obviously, he didn’t shoot the ball 6-of-7 from 3, but, you know he was throwing in the, you know, high-20s, mid-to-high 20s when we were on a four-game winning streak,” said Jones.

On both Wednesday and Saturday, Jones alluded to balancing two rhythms: the rhythm of Partin’s shooting and the rhythm of the Terriers offense. The coach said that after the BU’s first four wins, the team made an effort to “balance the offense” more, but that it’s still important to find Partin when he is on a hot streak as he has been in the second halves as of late.

“I think he’s the type of guy, when he gets into a rhythm like that, you’ve got to try to find him,” Jones said on Wednesday.

On Saturday, in the lounge above the entrance to The Roof, Jones elaborated further on what is necessary for his offense.

“The challenge for me as a coach is to make sure he’s getting those shots within the rhythm of our offense, because he’s such a talented player that at times we can stand an watch him,” Jones said.

“We’ve got to make sure that we’re getting him open within what we do, so he’s not holding the ball and now we start to get our of our flow,” he continued. “Our offense is played with a flow, and we’ve got to continue to do a better job of that, and he’s got to continue to understand how he can get shots when we have the flow on the offense.”

Still, Jones prefaced the above statements with a bit of awe at just how good a shooter Partin can be, saying, “All he has to do is make one shot. It’s unbelievable. I’ve never seen a kid like this. He makes one shot, he’s like a completely different player.”

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