Dec. 19, 2013
Seeking its second win over the Atlantic Coast Conference in three years, the Boston University men's basketball team visits Maryland on Saturday with the ESPN3 broadcast set to begin at 1 p.m.
The trip marks the Terriers' second of five visits to the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area following last week's game at George Washington. BU is currently 6-5 with the Terrapins (7-4) and the Atlantic 10's Saint Joseph's (5-4) representing the final non-conference opponents on the schedule.
The Terriers last earned a win over the ACC wheny the rolled past Boston College, 75-61, back in 2011. Two seniors played a key role in the victory, highlighted by D.J. Irving's 17 points, seven assists, six rebounds and two steals. Classmate Dom Morris posted 11 points and 11 rebounds for his first career double-double.
Two years later after beating the Eagles, Irving currently ranks fifth all-time at BU with 418 assists and 15th with 1,166 points. He also has already logged the eighth most minutes in program history at 3,436, just 64 behind BU Hall of Famer Drederick Irving ('88). Morris has also made his mark on the program and is on pace to become just the 12th Terrier to reach 1,000 points and 600 rebounds. He ranks 18th with 606 rebounds and owns 882 points.
Morris earned his seventh double-double earlier this season when he tallied a career high 27 points with 10 rebounds in a 91-65 win over UMass Lowell. Sophomore Nathan Dieudonne followed up with 16 points and 12 rebounds against Eastern Washington, and sophomore Maurice Watson Jr. posted 16 points and 12 assists last Sunday vs. Norfolk State.
BU has lost its last three games to teams that are a combined 26-5 with two of the games going to overtime at home. The Terriers rallied from a seven-point deficit with 44 seconds left in regulation before falling in the extra session to defending Ivy League champion Harvard, 79-68. Defending MEAC regular season champion Norfolk State trailed by eight with two minutes left and escaped with an 86-82 overtime win.
The third defeat came at the hands of George Washington. The Colonials trailed 41-32 early in the second half before using a second-half surge to win, 70-60. A key issue for the Terriers in the three-game losing streak is turnovers. BU owns a -19 turnover margin, the largest over a three-game span since 2011. The Terriers are 5-0 this season when finishing ahead in points off turnovers.
Appearing in the 2013 NIT semifinals last March at Madison Square Garden, Maryland enters Saturday's contest on a two-game win streak. They pulled out an 88-80 win at Boston College and 66-62 home victory over Florida Atlantic. The Terrapins are forcing 14 turnovers a game, and five players have at least 10 steals already. On the offensive end, Dez Wells and Jake Layman are the top two scorers at 15.3 and 15.0 ppg, respectively. Evan Smotrycz is next with 12.3 ppg and a team-high 6.7 rpg.
BU and Maryland share two common opponents. George Washington used a buzzer beater to edge the Terrapins, 77-75, and current No. 10 UConn held on for a 78-77 victory. Maryland leads the all-time series, 3-1, and will be hosting the Terriers for the first time since earning an 85-59 win in 1991.
The Terriers upset Maryland the previous year at the Boston Garden in a 65-61 thriller en route to the North Atlantic Conference title and NCAA tournament berth. The Terrapins have won all three meetings at home by 23 points or more, including a 122-82 dismantling in 1975.
BU will see one familiar face on the sideline for Maryland. Scott Spinelli ('89) played three seasons with the Terriers and is in his third year as an assistant coach with the Terrapins.
Following the contest, the Terriers will conclude the non-conference schedule at Saint Joseph's on Sunday, Dec. 29 at 5 p.m. BU then opens the Patriot League slate at Agganis Arena against HolY Cross on Thursday, Jan. 2 at 7 p.m.