Darryl Partin, Patrick Hazel and three Boston University seniors will be honored Saturday afternoon when the Terriers (15-15, 11-4 America East) host Hartford (8-20, 7-8 AE) at Case Gymnasium at 3 p.m. (TV: None/Radio: 1510 WWZN AM).
The Terriers will honor seniors Matt Griffin, Chris Kurz, Partin, Hazel and the only four year senior on the squad Jeff Pelage, as part of the Senior Day Ceremonies before the game. The group was integral to last season's run to the NCAA Tournament with Partin and Hazel regular starters and Pelgae and Griffin playing big minutes off the bench. Kurz who has played minimal minutes throughout his three years at Boston University scored his first career basket in Wednesday's win over the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC).
While Boston University wrapped up the third seed in the America East Conference over a week ago, they will face off against a Hartford squad that still has plenty to play for in their final regular season game. The Hawks have won four of 'their past five games and can wrap the fifth seed in next week's conference tournament with a victory; a loss could drop them down to the sixth spot and a date with the Terriers, the team that has ended their season the past two seasons in the conference tournament.
In the first meeting between these two teams, Boston University put the clamps on Hartford defensively, holding the Hawks to just 13 first-half points and 20.8 percent (5-24) shooting from the field. The Terriers rolled on to a 65-46 victory behind 22 points from Partin and 15 points from sophomore point guard D.J. Irving. Hartford, a team that largely relies on their 3-point shooting, knocked down just 4-of-21 (19 percent) attempts from behind the arc, including missing all 11 attempts in the first half.
Wednesday the Terriers ended their two-game losing streak with an easy 73-52 victory over UMBC. Boston University led from start to finish in the contest, with Partin leading four Terrier players in double figures with 17 points. Freshmen guard Zach Chionuma finished with a career-high 12 points off the bench, as the Terriers reached the 11 win mark in conference play for the fourth straight season.
Success hasn't come as easily for the Hawks, who haven't won more than seven games in conference play since the 2007-08 season when they made it all the way to the America East Championship Game. Second-year head coach John Gallagher has done a fantastic job with a young roster and made the Hawks competitive after a winless nonconference season (1-12-only win came in BracketBuster play).
Point guard Andres Torres, one of just three seniors on the squad, leads the team in scoring (11.5 ppg) and assists (4.1 apg). Four of the team's next top five scorers are freshmen, as Gallagher has started freshmen 68 times this season (140 opportunities). Freshmen Nate Sikma leads the team with 4.3 rebounds per game and fellow first-year Mark Nwakamma is second on the team in scoring at 8.8 points per game.
Prediction: Boston University has won eight of their past nine against Hartford and haven't lost at home during that stretch. This should be an easy win for a Terriers squad who always seem to play their best basketball heading into the America East Conference Tournament and love putting on a show on Senior Day. Unless Hartford can knock down well more than the 7.4 3-pointers they average per game, the Terriers should have no problem due to their size advantage inside and balanced scoring.
Boston University 75, Hartford 67