Boston University (14-15, 10-4 America East) will look to end their two-game losing streak and avenge last season's loss at the RAC, when they travel to the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) (4-23, 3-11 AE) Wednesday night at 7 p.m. EDT. (TV: None/Radio: 1510 AM WWZN)
After winning four in a row and looking like they were peaking at the right time, the Terriers have dropped consecutive affairs to New Hampshire and Loyola (MD). In both games the Terriers trailed most of the way and were unable to overcome late runs by their opponents. Saturday's loss to Loyola was the Terriers first ever loss in a BracketBuster game (4-1). Despite 33 points from Darryl Partin and D.J. Irving and a mostly healthy Patrick Hazel, Boston University fell 69-56 behind their 36.8 percent shooting from the field and 2-of-17 (17.6 percent) performance from distance.
Fortunately for Boston University, their final two opponents of the regular season are teams they soundly beat in the first matchup. The Terriers decimated the Retrievers in the first matchup 83-45, their largest margin of victory ever against UMBC (22 games). Partin had 19 points to lead Boston University and Irving nearly finished with a double-double (nine points and seven rebounds). Overall, the Terriers had 10 players score, as they posted a season-high in points (83).
The Retrievers are wading through a third consecutive season of futility under head coach Randy Monroe, as they're just 13-74 over the past three seasons. Over the past month, the Retrievers have lost seven of eight games, with their lone win coming on the road at Binghamton last week. Saturday the team fell 73-66 at Canisius as part of BracketBusters Weekend. Sophomore forward Chase Plummer led the way with 24 points and and junior Brian Neller added 14 points in the loss.
The Terriers have been streaky all season long as they've worked towards coming together under first year head coach Joe Jones. Outside of the team's star guards (Partin and Irving), Boston University has struggled to get consistent production on a nightly basis. Forwards Dom Morris, Patrick Hazel and Malik Thomas have all served as the team's third option this season, with Morris being the most effective as of late. The sophomore has averaged 12.6 points per game over his past three games, including a career-high 17 points against New Hampshire last Wednesday. Hazel has struggled with a knee injury over the past three games, but still leads the team in blocked shots and is second in rebounding (5.2 rbg).
Plummer has stepped up and become UMBC's leader this season, leading the team in both points (17.1 ppg) and rebounds (6.4 rbg) during the conference campaign. Junior guard Ryan Cook and Neller are the team's second and third scoring options, with Cook averaging over 12.6 points per game and Neller, a 3-point specialist, averaging over 11 points per game on the season. Cook leads the Retrievers in assists with 37, after star point guard Chris DeLa Rosa left the team after playing just one game this season.
Prediction: Playing a team like UMBC should be just what the Terriers need to get back on track, but they can't take the Retrievers lightly. Not only did UMBC upset Boston University last year in Maryland (71-67) but the America East leading Vermont Catamounts lost last night at winless Binghamton. This conference is wide open, with much less ground than usual standing between first and worst.
That being said the Terriers should easily be able to come away with a victory if they avoid settling for jump shots and push the ball inside. UMBC has gotten stronger and bigger inside than last year but Boston University still owns a huge size and skill advantage with players like Morris and Hazel.
Boston University 75, UMBC 59