Friday, February 26, 2010

Black Bears (19-9, 10-4) at Boston U. (16-12, 10-5)

Saturday, Feb. 27, 2:30 p.m.
Case Gym, Boston

Boston University can pull into a third-place tie with the Black Bears in the standings, but it can't get to the No. 3 seed. UMaine has clinched the No. 3 spot, but with a victory, puts itself in position for a possible No. 2 seed (if Vermont loses to Binghamton Sunday).

Since a 19-point loss at Stony Brook, the Black Bears have won three straight by average of 15 points a game. BU will seek to avenge a last-second loss at Orono. The Black Bears won that game on a Mike Allison put-back off an inbounds play.

The Terriers feature one of the most potent lineups in America East with four players averaging double figures. Junior forward John Holland scored 43 points in BU's Bracket Buster win over Delaware. He is a threat from anywhere on the floor. Senior guard Corey Lowe can get hot from outside. Sophomore forward Jake O'Brien was last year's rookie of the year and has elevated his game this season. Guards Carlos Strong and Tyler Morris (back from injury) are veterans capable of strong games.

While the Terriers haven't quite lived up to their pre-season selection by coaches to win the regular season title, they are adjusting quite nicely under first-year coach Pat Chambers. Chambers replaced longtime BU bench boss Dennis Wolff.

Terriers to watch:
John Holland, 6-5 junior forward ... 19.8 points, 6.1 rebounds
Corey Lowe, 6-2 senior guard ... 14.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists
Jake O'Brien, 6-8 sophomore forward ... 13.1 points, 6.6 rebounds
Carlos Strong, 6-2 senior guard ... 10 points, 4.9 rebounds, 48 percent on 3-pointers

For UMaine to win: Block out, block out, block out ... Black Bears must hold their own on the boards. BU is one of the teams in the league that can play muscle-ball with UMaine. Terriers have two guards averaging five rebounds. They put a big lineup on the floor that features bruising 6-9, 240-pound center Jeff Pelage ... Take care of the ball. UMaine committed just six turnovers against Albany. A repeat performance would be huge against BU ... Chase Strong, Holland and Lowe off the three-point line. Don't let them get comfortable from behind the arc.

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