Event: University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) Retrievers (3-16, 2-5 America East) Vs. Boston University Terriers (10-11, 6-1 AE)
Date/Time: Tuesday January 24, 2001-7 p.m. EDT
Location: Case Gym (Capacity: 1,800)-Boston, MA.
Broadcast Info: Doug Brown and Brian Maurer will have a broadcast of the game on 1510 AM WWZN.
Last Year's Games: The Terriers own a 13-7 advantage all-time between the programs dating back to the 1989-90 season. Last season the two programs split the series with Boston University earning an 85-53 victory on Commonwealth Ave behind 47 combined points from John Holland and Darryl Partin. In the win, the Terriers shot 50 percent from the field and held the Retrievers to just 24 first-half points.
Last Time Out: January has been good to Boston University and that trend continued Sunday when they blew out Hartford 65-46 in Connecticut. Partin had his fifth straight strong second half with 22 points in the second stanza to help the Terriers pull away from the upstart Hawks. Boston University held the league's best 3-point shooting team to just 4-of-21 shooting (19 percent), as they earned their sixth straight win.
While the Terriers crushed their opponent Sunday, the Retrievers weren't so lucky at home against Vermont. The Catamounts came away with a 90-62 victory over their America East foes as they shot 56 percent for the game. UMBC's lone bright spot was sophomore forward Chase Plummer who led the team with 20 points and nine rebounds.
Storylines: Boston University will look to stay red-hot in the month of January and avoid overlooking the Retrievers when the two teams square off Tuesday. It's been three years since the Retrievers ended Boston University's season for the second straight year and things have gone downhill fast for Randy Monroe and UMBC. Only one member of that UMBC team is still with UMBC and the program has continually lost some of their best talent to transferring as they've lost 67 of their 79 games over the past three seasons.
On the other side is a Terriers team that has won 13 straight conference games, 20 straight home America East contests and is looking to get back to the America East Championship for the third straight season. In their current six-game winning streak, the team has done everything right. Offensively they are averaging 65.5ppg during the streak behind 42.7 percent shooting behind the arc. On the defensive end they've been even more impressive, holding opponents to 50 points or less three times and an average of 54 points allowed per game.
Partin, the reigning America East Player of the Week, leads the Terriers with 19.9 points and adds 4.2 rebounds per game. The team's catalyst though is sophomore point guard D.J. Irving who leads the conference in assists (5.29apg) and is second in scoring for Boston University with 12.5ppg.
The Retrievers lost their best player and one of the top five playmakers in the league when senior point guard Chris De La Rosa decided to leave the program due to personal reasons after playing one game this year. With De La Rosa out of the picture, Plummer and juniors Brian Neller and Ryan Cook have taken control of the offense. All three members of the trio average double-digits and they've combined to score 60 percent of the team's points this season.
Prediction: Boston University has the edge in every major statistical category except for rebounding and steals and they're facing a Retrievers squad that is 2-9 on the road (with one of those wins coming against 0-20 Towson). The only way this game ends up being close, much less ending up with a UMBC victory, is if the Terriers completely overlook the Retrievers in anticipation of Friday's showdown against Stony Brook for first place. The Stony Brook game could cause a bit of an early hangover, but I expect the Terriers to cruise with the bench earning plenty of playing time.
Boston University 77, UMBC 61