Sunday, January 25, 2009

Boston U. 73, Black Bears 62

In America East, the game is played outside-in. Year after year, most teams at this level of Division 1 basketball are weighted heavily toward the perimeter game. It is not uncommon for teams to primarily use three- and four-guard lineups.

So, it stands to reason, if you don't defend the 3-point line vigorously, hoop-suicide is the likely result.

In three of the Black Bears' four America East losses this year, the opposition has made 10 or more 3-pointers. Binghamton, Hartford and Boston University combined to hit 34 of 77 long-range shots in wins over the Black Bears. That's a robust 44 percent.

Flip to today's Alfond Arena date with Boston University and it's not hard to pinpoint the reason the Black Bears were unable to hold an 18-point lead. The Terriers (10-9, 5-2) climbed back into the game and then pulled away from UMaine (8-12, 3-4) with a three-point barrage, hitting 12 of 28. That equaled Hartford's performance against the Black Bears. Binghamton was 10 for 21.

The Terriers entered the game averaging a league leading 8.8 bombs per game, so it was no surprise that once they fell behind, they'd be willing to let fly.

Freshman Jake O'Brien (24 points, 6 rebounds) and John Holland (23 points) combined to inflict most of the damage, going a combined 9 for 17 on threes.

The Black Bears, who have roadies against Vermont and Binghamton coming up this week, were led by Mark Socoby (16 points, 5 rebounds) and Sean McNally (10 points, 8 rebounds). Junior Bernal had eight points, seven rebounds and six assists. But it wasn't enough to offset a 36-18 advantage BU had from three-point range.

The loss leaves the Black Bears locked in a scrum for America East middle class status. The Terriers, Vermont and Binghamton appear on the verge of creating some seperation from the rest of the league.


MattT said...

If John Holland isn't the Player of the Year in America East, I don't know who is? Maine was in his face contesting everything he put up, some of the shots he hit were fade aways that had no business going in. He's a shot maker. This kid is an incredible talent. I also came away from the game impressed with O'Brien. Maine didn't show him a whole lot of respect and he made them pay. Even as they devoted more attention to him, he hit three 3's from deep that were right in a defender's face.
I wasn't displeased with Maine's defense in this game. BU was on fire and Maine missed several bunnies on the other end. Sean McNally really battled down low and held his own for most of the game, but he was also frustrated. BU made an adjustment in the second half and really sagged hard off Bernal and doubled down on McNally. Maine was too passive after half time. In my opinion they ran too many sets to free Socoby and McLemore for jumpers. Junior Bernal and company could have pushed the tempo in the second half and tried to wear down BU and their thin bench, but for some reason they played very conservatively? It will be interesting to see how they respond against Vermont and Binghamton on the road. Vermont has a lot of weapons and they are deep. I don't know what it is, but I can't stand Mike Trimboli. Probably all the daggers he stuck in Maine over the years. Mike Lonergan is also probably the biggest whiner in the AE coaching fraternity. Can you tell I hate Vermont? I do miss Tom Brennan turning 3 shades of purple. Here's to a good showing on NESN for the Black Bears!

thepit said...

We've developed a nasty habit of going into costly passive spells. It's been plaguing the Black Bears for a while now.
If Bears can go on the road and split, that would be huge. More likely, UMaine will come home needing to win three again.
Losing at home is never good and it's happened way too much the past three years. You'd think the Black Bears would be furious over losing an 18-point lead at home. For the program to take a step forward, they've got to stop dropping games at home.
Going into the past four games, beginning with Hartford, I thought the Bears needed to go 3-1 to show this wasn't going to be the same-old, same-old. A split I felt was status quo. So here we are ... hope you're right and we get a good showing at Vermont.