Saturday, January 24, 2009
Boston U. (9-9, 4-2) at UMaine (8-11, 3-3)
Sunday, Jan. 25, 1 p.m.
Boston University visits Alfond Arena coming off consecutive multiple-overtime victories this week. Monday, the Terriers topped Stony Brook, 99-97, in four overtimes. It only took two extra sessions for the Terriers and UMBC to decide things Thursday with BU winning, 80-77.
BU, the pre-season selection of coaches to win America East, comes in winners of three straight and four out of five.
The Terriers are getting huge production from 6-5 sophomore combo guard John Holland (17.5 point a game, 5.4 rebounds) and 6-2 junior guard Corey Lowe (18.5 points, 3.5 assists). Both players are threats from 3-point range, shooting at 40-percent on the season.
Holland (pictured) has won two straight player of the week awards and is seventh in the league in overall field goal percentage (.465).
Jake O'Brien, a 6-8 freshman, has helped picked up the slack for injured teammates Carlos Strong and Tyler Morris. O'Brien is averaging 11.3 points and 4.3 rebounds. He's also someone the Black Bears must be aware of behind the arc as he checks in at 36 percent from deep. The Terriers lead America East, averaging 8.8 three-pointers per game.
Morris and Strong, a pair of guards, were lost to knee injuries a few weeks ago and are done for the season. Strong is a Portland native.
For UMaine, it's the final game of a three-game homestand and an opportunity to strengthen its place in the middle of the America East standings. A victory by the Black Bears would assure that at least seven of the nine teams would have at least three losses at the halfway point of the America East season. A win would also surpass last season's league effort.
Defensively, UMaine must find a way to get the Terriers out of their comfort zone and force Lowe, Holland and O'Brien to make tough shots. With BU maybe having a short bench because of the injuries, and coming off the overtime games, maybe the Black Bears will force the action a bit.
Offensively, the Black Bears are showing signs of developing multiple threats. The inside play of Sean McNally continues to impress AE coaches and with the emergence of Malachi Peay since coming back from two injuries, UMaine isn't relying solely on its outside shooting as much. The Black Bears must win the battle of the boards and keep close tabs on BU's big three.
Protect the home court and then hit the road on a roll should be the Black Bears' mantra.