Event: Binghamton University (0-14) Vs. Boston University (4-11)
Date/Time: Sunday January 8, 2012-3 p.m. EDT.
Location: Case Gym (Capacity: 1,800)-Boston, MA.
Broadcast Info: 1510AM The Zone will have a radio broadcast of the game with Doug Brown and Brian Maurer calling the game.
Last Year's Games: Boston University earned the sweep in the Battle of the BU's last season with two close victories. At Agganis Arena, the Terriers survived a scare with an 11-0 run late in the game, to overcome a six-point deficit. In the second contest at Binghamton, the Terriers earned their seventh straight victory, behind two made free throws by Darryl Partin with 25 seconds remaining. D.J. Irving was the star in the second game with 14 points and one assist and averaged 10.5 points and three assists in the two games.
Last Time Out: Even with Irving's return from an injury, the Terriers couldn't find a way back into the win column in Vermont. It was a four-point game at halftime, before the Catamounts began their parade to the free throw line. Vermont took 25 free throws in the second half, two more than Boston University attempted for the game.
Binghamton played their closest game in a month and a half Thursday, as they played spoiler for 30 minutes, before eventually falling to Stony Brook 60-54. The Bearcats held a 43-39 lead with 11 minutes to go, but went ice cold, allowing Stony Brook to go on a 14-1 run, effectively ending the game.
Storylines: Carrying a combined 22-game losing streak into Sunday, the Battle of the BU's means that at least one team will exit Case Gym with their first win of 2012. Both teams have taken steps towards getting closer to ending their respective streaks in their past two games, but have yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
For Boston University, Irving's return from concussion symptoms after missing three games was great news. Even though Irving struggled to adjust in his first game back, his presence gives the Terriers another scorer, a player who can open up the floor and a lightning-fast defender who can change the game at any point. No player appreciates Irving's return more than senior guard Darryl Partin.
The Terriers leading scorer is averaging 20 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, but has struggled carrying the load without Irving. With 24 points Sunday, Partin will reach the 1,000 point mark for his career, becoming the first player to accomplish the feat since Jake O'Brien reached the plateau in December of 2010.
More than two year after a huge scandal hit the Bearcats, Binghamton is still struggling to recover and become a contender in the America East Conference. Sophomore guard Robert Mansell leads the team with 13.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game, but the real story this season has been freshmen Ben Dickinson. The D.C. native is second on the team in scoring (12.1ppg), leads the team in rebounds (6.1rbg) and is second on the team in assists (2.1apg).
Since the scandal caused the program to release many of their most talented or veteran players, Binghamton has struggled to retain players. This season's squad features six freshmen and no seniors, after the team's lone senior Kyrie Sutton, was dismissed from the team a week before the season started.
Players To Watch: Thursday, D.J. Irving was hesitant to drive to the basket, struggled shooting the basketball and just didn't look like himself. Irving needs to make strides in this game, even if he doesn't get fully back to himself, for the Terriers to succeed long term. The Terriers next three games are against the elite teams in this year's America East Conference, and Boston University has no shot without a healthy and aggressive Irving.
Ben Dickinson is the most exiciting thing to come out of Vestal, New York since Greer Wright (former Binghamton player). The forward has been the one guy worth watching all season for the Bearcats, because he can do it all. As a freshmen, he's one of the leading scorers, rebounders and playmakers on the Bearcats and he's also getting to the free throw line at a higher rate than the rest of his teammates. If the Bearcats are going to pull the upset, and it's becoming painfully apparent it could happen,then Dickinson will need to have a big game scoring. Binghamton is averaging just 55.9 points per game, but if Dickinson is on, he should have little problems against the Terriers defense that tends to come-and-go.
Prediction: The way things have been going for these two teams, it wouldn't be a gross exaggeration to expect a tie or both teams finding a way to lose. On a more serious note, this is a game that Boston University not only needs to win, but that they should win. As bad as things have gotten for the Terriers, they have the pieces and experience to compete within the America East and Binghamton can't claim either characteristic, at least not yet.
Terriers 77, Bearcats 65