LEXINGTON KY - NOVEMBER 30: DeAndre Liggins #34 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball while defended by Patrick Hazel #25 and Travis Robinson #24 of the Boston University Terriers during the game on November 30 2010 in Lexington Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Boston University will look to avenge last season's loss at Lundholm Gymnasium, while New Hampshire will look to knock off the team who ended their 2010-11 season, when the Terriers and Wildcats square off Thursday night. The matchup pits two of the best guards in the league against a Wildcats squad led by two of the strongest big men in America East.
Boston University (8-11, 4-1 America East) will look to earn their season-high fifth straight victory and avenge last season's loss to the University of New Hampshire (6-10, 1-4 AE) at Lundholm Gymnasium Thursday night at 7 p.m. EDT. (TV: None/Radio: 1510 AM The Zone)
The Terriers have dominated the all time-series (89-36) and recent meetings (19-3), but suffered a rude awakening the last time they visited Durham, New Hampshire. With the Terriers struggling to get things going in the conference season, the Wildcats handed Boston University a 60-48 loss. New Hampshire held the Terriers to just 26 (14-of-52) percent shooting for the game and received 26 points from senior Tyrone Conley on four 3-pointers. The loss may have been worth it, as the Terriers would go on to win 11 straight games, including a 69-60 victory over UNH in the Quarterfinals of the America East Tournament.
For the second time this season Joe Jones' squad has earned a four-game winning streak. Monday against Albany, sophomore point guard D.J. Irving led the Terriers to a 70-57 victory behind his team-high 17 points and six assists. In the win, the Terriers held Gerardo Suero, the nation's fourth leading scorer, to a season-low six points and the Great Danes to just 31 percent shooting.
Despite twenty points from senior Alvin Abreu Monday night, the Wildcats fell 61-52 to Stony Brook on Long Island. Sophomore forward Patrick Konan added 15 points and three rebounds before fouling out and senior forward Brian Benson chipped in five points and nine rebounds for New Hampshire. Despite outshooting the Seawolves, the Wildcats dropped their sixth contest in eight games and fifth consecutive road tilt.
Boston University comes into the tilt playing their best basketball of the season, with the team connecting on 46.7 percent of their shots and holding opponents to just 57.2 points per game over their past four games. Irving has been the difference during the streak, averaging 14.3ppg and 7.5apg. On the season, he's second on the team in scoring (12.4ppg) and leads the America East conference in assists (5.4apg). Senior guard Darryl Partin is the biggest benefactor of Irving's return, as the second leading scorer in the conference averages 19.8ppg and 4.2rbg. Senior center Patrick Hazel and sophomore forward Dom Morris are the team's leading rebounders and they'll have their hands full against the Wildcats strong front line.
New Hampshire's bread-and-butter has always been defense and rebounding under head coach Bill Herrion and that hasn't changed this season. While Abreu (13.4ppg) and junior point guard Chandler Rhoads (11.1ppg, 2.1apg) lead the team in scoring, the team's success stems from Konan and Benson. Konan averages 10.7ppg and 6.2rbg while Benson leads the conference in rebounding (9.2rbg) and adds 7.6ppg. The pair have helped New Hampshire hold opponents to just 64.8 points per game (3rd in America East) and the fifth best rebounding margin in the conference. Those two strengths help mask the team's weaknesses offensively, as the Wildcats rank sixth or lower in every offensive category outside of 3-point shooting.
Prediction: New Hampshire rarely plays well when these two teams square off and this game has all the makings off a Terrier blowout. Boston University has been playing their best basketball of the season and more importantly are getting contributions from every one on the roster. While the Wildcats will have the advantage inside, expect the Terriers to take high-percentage shots and prove they won't take anyone lightly in the conference.
Boston University 65, New Hamsphire 54