By René Reyes/DFP Staff
Resembling every bit of the 2011-12 Player of the Year he is, the senior swingman torched the University of Hartford for 11 points in the tilt’s opening half on an array of fadeaway jumpers and free throws.
He scored just six more points in the second frame.
At 10:54 p.m. on Saturday night, Partin gingerly walked into Chase Family Arena’s media room, looking dazed, and sat to the left of Boston University men’s basketball coach Joe Jones at the podium.
As Jones made his opening statement and congratulated the sixth-seeded Hawks for their 53-49 win over the third-seeded Terriers, Partin bit his lips multiple times. His face was deadpan and his eyes surveyed the surroundings around him.
Two minutes later, he was asked to reflect on his career at BU, one that came to a stunning end on the heels of his 17-point performance on 5-of-17 shooting against the Hawks.
Partin immediately lowered his head.
Jones gave Partin two pats on the right shoulder, as his leading scorer needed a couple seconds to gather his thoughts. A few tears streamed down Partin’s face, replacing the usual stoic expression that had defined him in postgame pressers since he transferred to BU from La Salle University two years ago.
He finally found the right words. “It was a good two years here,” Partin said. “Couldn’t have asked for anything more, you know?”
Jones then stepped in to offer his thoughts on the contributions of the senior class, which included captains Matt Griffin and Patrick Hazel, center Jeff Pelage, forward Chris Kurz and Partin.
“The senior class, in particular, was tremendous the whole year,” Jones said. “It’s one of the toughest pills to swallow when you have a group of guys that accomplished what this group has accomplished and did the things that this group did. … Obviously, they had a great run last year.
“We had great success in our league this year. Just lost a tough one tonight, but it doesn’t really define who they are as athletes or individuals.”
Hartford coach John Gallagher lauded the efforts of BU’s seniors.
“I want to first congratulate the Boston University seniors,” Gallagher said. “Darryl Partin, Matt Griffin, Jeff Pelage. Those three gentlemen, in my mind, represented what is great about this league. … I’m proud of those three guys.”
On Friday night, Partin was awarded with the America East Player of the Year award, marking the second year in a row that a Terrier had been given the accolade.
In the early going of Saturday’s matchup, Partin demonstrated why he was deserving of the conference’s highest honor.
Coupled with sophomore guard D.J. Irving’s 11 first-half points, Partin tallied 11 points of his own to lead the offensive charge, as the dynamic duo accounted for all but five of BU’s 27 points at intermission.
The second half was a different story, though.
Partin only went 2-of-9 from the field in the final 20 minutes. He had trouble finding his shot and was immediately double-teamed whenever he touched the ball inside or outside the 3-point arc.
It was all part of the game plan to neutralize Partin, Gallagher said, referencing Partin’s 0-of-6 showing from downtown as a sign of success for his squad.
“Just make him make tough two’s,” Gallagher said of the scouting report on Partin. “Don’t let him make a three. If he makes a three, it’s gotta be off balance and he’s gotta be going to his left. You have to make him put it on the floor. If he goes by you, we’ll live with it, and that’s what we talked about.”
With BU nursing a 43-38 edge, Partin missed two technical free throws at the 13:43 mark after Hartford forward Nate Sikma committed a clear-path foul against him. He also had the ball stripped from him by guard Andres Torres with nine seconds left in the contest and the Terriers down, 51-49.
Torres knocked down both freebies to secure the victory, and in the process, put a sudden end to Partin’s BU basketball career.
At 11 p.m., Partin rose out of his seat and walked off the podium, leaving the room just as slowly as he had entered it just six minutes prior.
“Everything’s gotta come to an end, you know?” Partin said. “It’s over now.”