By: Chris Lynch
The Boston University Terriers will look to bounce back from a tough loss on Tuesday as they head north to face the UMass-Lowell Riverhawks.
The BU Terriers’ last game well could be the epitome of the season to this point.
The Terriers have been an up and down team with some games showing their high talent level and others showing how frustrating basketball can be. BU trailed Harvard by double digits at the end of the first half. They then performed well for the second half of play, and made Harvard beat them late.
They got excellent performances from Eric Fanning (game high 19 points) and Nick Havener (career high 18 points and 11 rebounds). They did not get great performances out of everyone, and there were numerous players missing. John Papale only scored 6 points and Cheddi Mosely only collected 2 points as BU struggled mightily from the field. BU fell to the Crimson 75-69 on Tuesday night, and their road doesn’t get any easier.
What will BU need to do differently against the 4-4 UMass Lowell Riverhawks when the two face off at the Tsongas Center in Lowell at 7pm on Thursday night? Well they will have to make more three pointers. In the last two game against Harvard and UMass, the Terriers hit only 11 of 41 three point attempts, for a 26.8 percentage from three point land. For a team that has built its offense on the three point shot, they need to make more three point shots.
They also need to get healthy. Cedric Hankerson has reinjured himself, and it does not appear that he will see the court anytime soon. Nathan Dieudonne was a healthy scratch from the last game, and Justin Alston left the last game late with an ankle injury. Combine that with Kyle Formean sitting out the UMass game with a foot injury and playing a little slower because of lingering effects from the injury, and BU is currently a beaten up team. They need to get healthy, make shots, and drive the ball to the hoop in order to win more games.
The fortunate thing is that they are facing another team that has been on an up and down track. The Riverhawks come in with a 4-4 record on the year. Lowell escaped their last game with a narrow victory over a depleted Boston College team, 68-66. Isaiah White led the team with 20 points and five successful three point attempts.
Jahad Thomas is the other major offensive force for the Riverhawks, averaging 11.0 points a game and leading the team with 7.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists a game. While UMass-Lowell is 4-4 on the season, they are 3-0 on their home court. And they’re leading their conference in steals a game, with 8 steals a game.
Their best performance was a November 25th game against Sacred Heart in which they forced 15 steals as a team and 25 total turnovers, with 5 takeaways coming from Mark Cornelius.
The problem for the Riverhawks is that they haven’t played aggressive enough defense to keep teams off the scoreboard. Teams are averaging 79.9 points a game against the Riverhawks on the season, while the Lowell is only averaging 75.3 points a game of their own.
BU has enough offense that they can drive, score, and make enough three pointers to make the Riverhawks defense pay. They failed to do so last year when the teams faced off at Case Gym and BU fell 69-59. As long as they don’t turn the ball over, stay healthy, and knock down the shots that they are clearly able to hit, BU will stand a great chance of winning in Lowell.