D.J. Irving entered Saturday's game frustrated after a devastating loss Friday and focused on the job at hand: getting new head coach Joe Jones, his first win at Boston University. After another tense final minute of play, Irving and the Terriers (1-4) hung on for a 70-64 against Rhode Island in the TicketCity Legend Classic Regionals.
Irving finished with a career-high 21 points and helped the Terriers overcome an 11-point second half deficit to end the Rams 32-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents. The Philadelphia native added eight assists, five rebounds and three steals in 36 minutes of play.
Leading scorer Darryl Partin added 20 points and hit four free throws to ice the game in the final minute and sophomore Travis Robinson continue his strong play with a career-high 10 points in his second consecutive start. Patrick Hazel chipped in with 14 points and eight rebounds for a Boston University group that had become all too familiar with rough final minutes.
The Terriers had found themselves in similar situations three times earlier this season but had been unable to seal the deal for one reason or another. In Friday's loss against Cleveland State, Boston University had led by four with 13 seconds to play, only to lose 63-62 because of an inbounds turnover and loose ball foul (click here for more details).
Saturday Boston University did almost everything right. Playing against a bigger and more longer Rams roster, the Terriers trailed 45-34 with 14:58 to play only to go on a 12-2 run over the next 3:11. Irving would give the Terriers their first lead in over 20 minutes at 51-50 and Matt Griffin gave the Terriers insurance with his first three in four games.
The lead would bloat to as many as nine (67-58) with under a minute to go, but the Rams nearly gave Jones a sick feeling of deja vu. After an Irving turnover and a Griffin misssed free throw on the front end of a 1-and-1, Jonathan Holton hit a layup to close the deficit to three. Two Partin free throws ensured the lead was safe and Boston University celebrated its long awaited first victory of the season.
Orion Outerbridge (16 points) and Nikola Malesevic (15 points) were the lone Rams to finish in double-figures. A day after earning the program's one-hundredth career victory at the Thomas M. Ryan Center, the Rams lost their first non-conference home game since December of 2006, on the nine-year anniversary of the arena being opened.
Boston University shot 50 percent for the first time this season and hit 10-of-14 free throws to win their biggest non-conference game in several years.
Things won't get easier for the Terriers Sunday, when they take on Hofstra University at noon in the third game of the TicketCity Legend Classic Regionals.