Dec. 1, 2013
Off to its best start since 2004, the Boston University men's basketball team will begin a challenging December slate of games at Quinnipiac on Monday night with the NESN broadcast set to begin at 7 p.m.
Currently on a three-game win streak, the Terriers (5-2) are scheduled to face off against six non-conference opponents that are currently a combined 31-10 (.756) with the Bobcats sitting at 4-1.
Also riding a three-game win streak, Quinnipiac will be well-rested for the game after blasting Maine on the road, 102-61, last Monday. The Bobcats are 2-0 at home with wins over Albany (79-69) and Hampton (71-68). They tipped off the season on the road against Hartford (W, 82-77) and La Salle (L, 73-67).
BU and QU are meeting for the fourth straight season in a series that started in 2000 and is currently tied, 2-2, with all four previous contests being decided by seven points or less. Last season in Case Gym, BU pulled out a thrilling 69-62 overtime victory. One of five Terriers to finish in double figures, sophomore John Papale hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 5.4 seconds left in regulation and finished with a team-high 16 points.
This season, Papale is one of seven Terriers averaging at least 6.0 ppg. Sophomore Maurice Watson Jr. leads BU at 14.6 ppg while also averaging 5.4 assists. Previously scoring a career-high 27 points in a 91-65 win over UMass Lowell, senior Dom Morris is second at 12.9 ppg. Watson and Morris combined for 29 points in Saturday's 66-65 home victory against St. Peter's, but sophomore Nathan Dieudonne was the star, as he posted a career and game-high 21 points with nine rebounds.
With the score tied at 65-65 with less than three seconds remaining, he had the ball near the top of the key and drove toward the basket. Fouled on the layup attempt, he hit the game-winning free throw to help the Terriers earn their first one-point victory since 2008. Junior Malik Thomas
made a key defensive play in the final second by deflecting a St. Peter's pass and preventing a shot attempt.
Opponents are shooting 45.7 percent against the Terriers, but BU's defense is forcing 14.6 turnovers a game. BU has recorded 51 steals and only coughed the ball up 30 times through seven contests. Watson is averaging 2.3 steals, while Morris leads the Terriers in rebounding at 7.7 rpg.
They will face a difficult task trying to defend a Bobcat squad that is currently averaging 80.2 ppg. Zaid Hearst leads Quinnipiac at 16.0 ppg with Umar Shannon (14.4 ppg) and Ike Azotam (14.2 ppg) close behind. Kasim Chandler and Ousmane Drame are also averaging double figures at 12.0 ppg. The Bobcats' key to success has been the team's ability to get to the free throw line. Quinnipiac is averaging 29.0 trips, 11 more than the Terriers.
Defensively, Quinnipiac is out-rebounding opponents by 15 boards a game. Hearst (10.8 rpg) and Azotam (10.0 rpg) lead the Bobcats in protecting the basket, while Chandler has seven steals.
Following the game, BU will return home and host defending Ivy League champion Harvard on Saturday (Dec. 7) at 1 p.m.