TULSA, OK - MARCH 18: D.J. Irving #13 of the Boston University Terriers goes up for a shot against Marcus Morris #22 of the Kansas Jayhawks during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at BOK Center on March 18, 2011 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Boston University will look to win in Maine for the first time in three seasons and come away with their first winning streak since early December.
Darryl Partin, D.J. Irving and Boston University (5-11, 1-1) will look to hand Maine (8-5, 2-0) their first America East Conference loss of the season Thursday night at 7 p.m. EDT in Orono, Maine. 1510 AM The Zone will have a radio broadcast of the game, with Doug Brown providing play-by-play and Brian Maurer serving as his analyst.
Boston University leads the all-time series 56-40, in a rivalry that dates back more than a century (1902-03). The Black Bears have won the past two contests at home, holding the Terriers to just 53 points per game. Back in Boston, the Terriers returned the favor, with two wins of their own. Last season's 88-78 Terriers win, started a Maine tailspin that would last the rest of the season and ruin an 8-2 start in the conference. The game was highlighted by Boston University star John Holland scoring his 2,000 career point.
In the Battle of B.U.'s Sunday, the Terriers ended their seven-game losing streak, with a 68-49 victory. Partin led the way with 17 points and redshirt freshmen Malik Thomas scored 14 of the Terriers 26 bench points in the win. Irving, who was only playing his second game back after an injury, finished with six points, eight assists and no turnovers.
Maine earned their second win in a row and fifth in six games Saturday, when they defeated UMBC 89-70. Senior guard Gerald McLemore led the way with 29 points and sophomore Alasdair Fraser added a double-double (16 points and 11 rebounds). The game was relatively close until midway through the second half, when the Black Bears used a 10-1 run to put the game away.
The Terriers are led by Partin's 19.8 points per game, which is good for third best in the conference in scoring. The Lasalle transfer finds himself just seven points shy of 1,000 for his career, after scoring 819 points in Scarlet and White in his first season and a half. His backcourt mate, and the team's second leading scorer, Irving (11.4 ppg), also leads the team in assists, at five per game. Senior captain Patrick Hazel leads the team with 6.2 rebounds and nearly two blocks per game.
The Black Bears are led by a formidable three-headed trio of McLemore, Fraser and freshmen standout Justin Edwards. McLemore is second in the conference in scoring at 20.5 points per game and stands just ahead of Edwards (15.6ppg) and Fraser (14.2ppg). Fraser, a Scotland product, leads the team in rebounding at 7.9 rebounds per game, just ahead of Edwards 6.2rbg. Edwards leads the team in steals (25) and free throw attempts (48). Senior point guard Andrew Rodgers is in charge of feeding the trio the ball and has done a great job of it, he leads all Division 1 players in assist-to-turnover ratio at 4.36.
Prediction: Alfond Arena has been nightmarish to the Terriers the past two season and it won't get any easier this time around, against one of the deepest and most talented teams in America East. Even with Irving back, I don't think the Terriers are quite ready to win on the road against a team of Maine's caliber. Strong showings from some of the younger Terriers and a tight game, might be as much as Boston University fans can hope for.
Maine 70, Boston University 64