Randy Monroe and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) are getting tired of having to face the top teams in America East. Tuesday Boston University (11-11, 7-1 America East) took their crack at making a statement against the Retrievers and earned their biggest win of the season (35 points) and most points in a game this season (83), as they decimated UMBC (3-17, 2-6 AE) 83-48.
" [They're] certainly one of the top teams in the league without question," Monroe said. "They have some very good players, good balance, they're definitely one of the top four teams, top three I should say."
And the Retrievers head coach would know, in the past two weeks UMBC had fallen to Stony Brook and Vermont by 40 and 38 points respectively. The Terriers decimated the Retrievers from start to finish in earning sole possession of first place in America East and their seventh-straight victory.
Darryl Partin led the Terriers with a quiet 17 points, while sophomore forward Travis Robinson made a statement with 10 first-half points and six rebounds.
"Some of our keys to the game were to come out and just get better," Robinson said. "We know that UMBC's not one of the better teams in our league but we take it just like we're playing Stony Brook or Vermont. But we take it like it's the next game on our schedule and we just try to come out and jump out on them and make a statement."
Three other Terriers finished with nine points and 11 of the 12 players in Scarlet and White, who saw action, scored in the contest. Sophomore point guard D.J. Irving finished with nine points and a game-high seven assists in a team-high 24 minutes of action. Starting forward Dom Morris and Patrick Hazel combined for 14 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks on 6-of-10 shooting and completely controlled the pain.
The pair helped the Terriers dominate the inside, as Boston University owned a 17-rebound advantage (45-28), 38 points in the paint and 21 second-chance points on 14 offensive rebounds. Another big key for head coach Joe Jones was the team's bench play; the team's second unit scored 33 points, pulled down 21 rebounds and let the starters rest for almost half the game.
"I think some of the guys have played much better as of late, Zach [Chionuma] in particular," Jones said. "Malik [Thomas] did a nice job, Mike Terry played good minutes against Albany and Jeff [Pelage] has been pretty steady in what he brings to the table...I really feel like right now we have one of the stronger benches in the league and I think that will be a strength down the stretch."
Sophomore guard Chase Plummer tied Partin with a game-high 17 points and also recorded a game-high nine points. The only other double-digit scorer for the Retrievers was fellow sophomore Jamar Wertz who finished with 12 points off the bench.
For the game UMBC shot just 30.9 percent (17-of-55) and knocked down 3-of-14 (21 percent) 3-pointers. It was the third time during the Terriers winning streak that they held an opponent to less than 50 points, and would have tied the low water mark for a Boston University opponent this season if not for a late jumper by Jarrel Lane with 39 seconds to go.
On the other side, Boston University connected on 50 percent of their shots in both halves (29-of-58) and hit nine 3-pointers in the win. The team's 83 points surpassed the team's 77 points showing on the road against Maine at the beginning of this streak and were the most points scored by the Terriers since last February, the last time UMBC came to Boston (85 points).
"I was very pleased with our overall effort, I thought we got some very good contributions from a number of guys," Jones said. "I thought in particular Travis Robinson was great in the first half, making a ton of effort plays-he had four offensive rebounds for the game. I thought that really set the tone."
It was relatively close through the first 10 minutes with Boston University holding an 21-15 lead with 8:09 to go in the first half. That's when the Terriers turned it on; Boston University went on the first of their two runs of 10 or more points, to open up a 16-point lead and nearly double the Retrievers (31-15 4:48 to play). UMBC would keep the lead from extending farther than 17 for the rest of the half, but it was just a matter of time before the Terriers broke the game open, as Jones sat his entire starting five for long stretches of each half.
Midway through the second stanza the Terriers blew the game open, when they went on a 20-6 run capped by a breakaway one hand dunk by Terry that brought the crowd to its feet. With 11:42 to go and Boston University leading 56-33, the Terriers received points from seven different players, including three 3-pointers, as the Terriers grabbed their largest lead of the night (37 points).
After that points both teams emptied their benches and it was Mat Piotrowski time. The Terriers redshirt freshmen, who is their first ever seven-footer, earned the first points of his career when he knocked down two free throws with 2:34 to go.
Boston University will be back in action Friday night on ESPNU when they play on the road at Stony Brook in a matchup of the top two teams in the America East standings. Game-time is set for 9 p.m. EDT.
"It's going to be a good environment up there and they're a very, very good team," Partin said.