Dec. 14, 2013
In the final 2013-14 regular season game at Case Gymnasium, the Boston University men's basketball team will welcome defending MEAC regular season champion Norfolk State to The Roof on Sunday with tip-off slated for 1 p.m.
The Terriers (6-4) are looking to rebound from the last two hard-fought losses to Harvard (79-68 ot) and George Washington (70-60), both of which are receiving votes in the latest national polls. Best known for its stunning upset of No. 2 seed Missouri in the second round of the 2012 NCAA tournament, the Spartans (7-3, 2-0 MEAC) are riding a two-game win streak with victories over Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman.
Through 10 contests, BU currently has three men averaging double figures. Sophomore Maurice Watson Jr. leads at 14.5 ppg while shooting 56.3 percent from the field, and senior D.J. Irving is second at 12.7 ppg after scoring a season-high 23 points at GW on Wednesday. Senior Dom Morris is close behind with a personal-best 12.4 ppg and is shooting an impressive 57.3 percent from the field. In total, eight Terriers have scored in double figures to help BU average 70.0 ppg.
On the defensive end, Morris leads BU and the Patriot League in rebounding at 7.7 rpg, while Watson is second in steals in the conference with a team-high 2.2 spg. The Terriers are 5-0 this season when finishing with more points off turnovers than their opponent. They are forcing 15.6 turnovers this season but will have their hands full Sunday against a Norfolk State squad that is averaging 84.1 ppg and only losing the ball 12.2 times per game.
The Spartans have won five of their last six games, highlighted by a 70-62 win over Fairleigh Dickinson, who earlier this season defeated both Rutgers and Seton Hall. Malcolm Hawkins is one of four averaging double figures at 18.0 ppg with Pendarvis Williams next at 16.8 ppg. RaShid Gaston led the defense at 9.3 rpg while also averaging 15.0 ppg but has missed the last seven games due to injury. Brandon Goode has stepped up in his place guarding the basket at 7.3 rpg and 3.1 blocks per game.
Norfolk State marks the first MEAC opponent for BU since the Terriers defeated Howard, 71-44, at the UCF Holiday Tournament last December.
Following the game, BU will focus on exams before visiting ACC power Maryland on Saturday (Dec. 21) at 1 p.m. with ESPN3 televising the contest. The Terriers wil return home on Thursday, Jan. 2, against Holy Cross in the first-ever Patriot League game at Agganis Arena.
Last season through 10 games, BU was sitting at 4-6 with four of the losses being decided by three points or less. Returning all five starters and top seven scorers, the Terriers now find themselves just one victory away from a winning non-conference schedule for the first time since going 6-3 in 2004-05. They are also one win away from posting seven non-conference victories during the regular season for the first time since 1993-94.