Jan. 21, 2014
Listen (BU audio) | Watch on PLN (free) | Live Stats | @BUGameDay
ESPN Boston: BU enjoying life in the Patriot League
BOSTON - With sole possession of first place in the Patriot League standings on the line, the Boston University men's basketball team will put its six-game win streak on the line against American University Wednesday night at Bender Arena. Fans can watch the action for free on the Patriot League Network with the broadcast set to begin at 7:30 p.m.
The Terriers (13-6, 6-0 PL) rank 20th in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll and are riding their longest win streak of the season at six games after defeating Loyola Maryland, 72-58, on Monday night. The Eagles (10-7, 6-0 PL) started its season under a new head coach 3-7 but have righted the ship, winning the last seven contests, to set up Wednesday's historic match-up.
The Patriot League has never before featured two 6-0 unbeaten squads in a single contest. The victorious team will only become one of eight in conference history to open with at least seven conference wins after Bucknell opened the 2011-12 season at 10-0. BU last started 6-0 in 2002-03 as a member of the America East and is currently attempting to match the 1996-97 squad's stellar start of 13-0.
On Monday at Agganis Arena on the CBS Sports Network, Loyola Maryland jumped out to a 21-12 lead before the Terriers finished the first half on a 20-6 run. BU shot 53.6 percent in the second half and held the Greyhounds to 33.3 percent to run away for the win. Sophomore Maurice Watson Jr. and senior D.J. Irving went a combined 13-of-17 from the field to finish with 33 points while dishing out nine assists.
Watson is currently averaging 6.9 apg, which ranks fifth in the nation. One of the key beneficiaries is classmate John Papale, who drained two 3-pointers against the Greyhounds. Papale is averaging 10.7 ppg in conference play to help BU get off to the hot start in its inaugural season as a member of the Patriot League. Papale and senior Travis Robinson were key in limiting conference scoring leader Dylon Cormier (22.6 ppg) to just 14 points.
The Terriers have held their first six league opponents to 58.7 ppg and 39.8 percent shooting. Before conference play, BU owned a negative rebound margin of 3.6 but are currently out-rebounding opponents by a positive 2.7 margin. Sophomore Nathan Dieudonne and senior Dom Morris led the Terriers at 5.8 and 5.2 rpg, respectively, in the month of January. Irving and Watson are close behind at a combined 9.4 rpg.
They will have their hands full defending against the Eagles, who rank ninth nationally in field goal shooting percentage at .498. AU likes to the move ball around and features four men in double figure scoring, led by John Schoof's 13.1 ppg. American's defense has also been impressive, ranking 15th at 60.4 ppg allowed. Center Tony Wroblicky averages a team-high 6.3 rpg and 1.9 bpg.
AU started the win streak with a 71-58 victory over Maryland Eastern Shore and are coming off a 66-61 win at home against Lafayette. The Eagles escaped with a 65-63 win against Lehigh, who lost to the Terriers by just one point, and claimed a 69-62 win at Colgate. They will try to snap a two-game losing streak in the third-ever meeting against BU.
The Terriers won the home-and-away series by identical margins of 58-56 back in 1997 and 1998, respectively, and will now look to win in the D.C. area for the second time this season. On Dec. 21, BU stunned ACC power Maryland, 83-77, to help build momentum heading into the Patriot League schedule.
Following the contest, BU will remain on the road and visit Bucknell Saturday afternoon (Jan. 25) with the CBS Sports Network broadcast set to begin at 2 p.m.