Event: Boston University Terriers (0-2) vs. Cornell Big Red (1-2)
Date/Time: Sunday, November 20, 2011-2p.m. EDT.
Location: Newman Arena at Bartels Hall (Capacity: 4,473), Ithaca, NY.
Broadcast Info: A radio broadcast of the game will be available on 1510 AM The Zone with Doug Brown and Brian Maurer on the call.
All Time Series: Boston University and Cornell will be meeting for the third time in four years. After Cornell blew out the Terriers in 2008, Boston University defeated the Big Red 66-61 at Case Gym last November to even the series up
Last Time Out:
Boston University played 14 minutes of Terriers basketball before being pushed around by a bigger and more athletic Texas squad in an 82-46 loss. Twenty-four turnovers, below 30 percent shooting from the field and just five assists and a swarming Longhorns defense were too much for a Terriers squad lacking an offensive identity. The Terriers woes behind the arc continued as well, as they hit just 5-28 attempts from behind the arc and failed to find a third scorer behind D.J. Irving and Darryl Partin.
Cornell comes into the game at 1-2 on the young season after a 68-59 road loss to Buffalo on Wednesday. After trailing by 12 early in the second half, the Big Red mounted a 17-5 run to tie the game with 11 minutes remaining but they couldn’t keep up with the size of Buffalo’s front line. The Bulls dominated the paint with an 11 rebound advantage and hit over 50 percent of their shots inside the arc to come away with the victory.
Joe Jones will look to earn his first win as head coach of the Terriers in a building that has given him nothing but nightmares in the past. The former head coach of Columbia University spent seven seasons in the Ivy League with his squad losing six of seven matchups at Newman Arena. Jones isn’t alone in struggling against Cornell at home, the Big Red have won 49 of their past 58 games at the gym over the course of the past five plus years.
If Boston University is going to come away with the victory, they are going to have to prove they’ve turned around an offense that struggled mightily against Texas and in overtime against Northeastern in their season opener. Outside of leading scorer Darryl Partin and point guard DJ Irving, the rest of the Terriers roster is shooting just 25 percent and combining to score less than 30 point per game.
The good news for Boston University is that Partin is more than capable of putting up big numbers against Cornell. In last season’s game between the two teams, Partin finished with a career-high 32 points including 30 of the team’s 46 points in the second half. Partin dominated a much smaller Cornell backcourt by shooting over them to the tune of 10-14 from the field and five 3-pointers.
Two years removed from a Sweet Sixteen run that included upsets of Temple and Wisconsin, the Big Red are rebuilding under second-year head coach Bill Courtney. After a 10-18 season that included 10 losses by five points or less, Courtney’s squad is led by a new wave of Big Red players unaffiliated with the 2009-10 NCAA Tournament run.
Freshmen forward Shonn Miller is one of three Cornell players who average 10 points or more for the Big Red. Senior guard Chris Wroblewski is leading the team in assists with 6.6 per game for the second season in a row and is a deadly shooter despite a slow start to the season. Thus far this season, eight Big Red players are averaging 18 minutes or more of action in the team’s three games.
Players To Watch
Darryl Partin is going to be the center attention of the media and opposing team’s game plans all season long; with his team struggling thus far, this is a chance for Partin to show that that pressure doesn’t faze him. Partin needs to be a leader on the floor, if he can be aggressive and attack the basket, it could create plenty of opportunities for the other four Terriers out on the floor with him.
Matt Griffin is the emotional leader and often the voice of this Boston University squad. 0-2 wasn’t the start the Terriers were hoping for, but a win on the road against Cornell would more than make up for the team’s failure to finish against Northeastern. Griffin has the potential to be the sparkplug for Boston University if he can start hitting his shots, but thus far he’s just 4-17 from the field and has been forcing some of his attempts.
Last Sunday was an ugly affair for the Terriers, but after a week of practice to work out the kinks and some time to rest up, Boston University will prove why they were selected number one in the America East Preseason poll behind the strength of their big men.
Boston University 66, Cornell 59