Men’s Basketball: Battle at Bucknell

By: Chris Lynch

Boston University Terriers are riding a season high seven game winning streak after a narrow victory over Colgate on Wednesday night. They take that winning streak on the road for a noon matchup with the conference leading Bucknell Bison on Sunday.

This game has many post season ramifications. These teams played back in January, and the Bison were the last team to defeat the Terriers. BU held an 18 point lead over the Bison, and Coach Jones has been vocal about how BU should not have lost that game.

Now they meet on the road, on national television, with a chance to either separate Bucknell from the crowd, or to put BU and Bucknell in a tie for first place.

The Bison are a lethal offense, averaging 78.3 points a game in Patriot League play, most in the conference. In fact they either lead or are in the top three of most statistical categories in Patriot League play this season. This includes offensive and defensive field goal percentage, three point defense, assists, steals, and turnover margin.

Their offense is paced by potential player of the year Chris Haas, who is averaging 16.8 points a game, third best in the conference. Nana Foulland and Zach Thomas are the other players averaging double digit points for the Bison, at 12.1 and 10.4 points a game respectively.

Bucknell has a balanced offensive attack, and with big playoff position on the line, with their home crowd behind them and on national television, this will likely be the Terrier’s biggest and most difficult test of the season.

BU will give Bucknell a run for their money though. The Terriers remember that they had an 18 point lead on the Bison back in January, and that they should have won over this team once. They will play hard to now secure that victory.

BU has also performed well on national television this season. They won in overtime over Loyola behind 37 points from Eric Fanning and they beat Lehigh on John Papale’s buzzer beater, which made it to ESPN’s number one spot for best play on SportsCenter. This team has a flair for the dramatic.

And BU is loaded as well. They have the third highest scoring offense in the conference and the second highest field goal percentage and three point percentage. They also have a slightly better field goal and three point defensive percentage, and they’re second in the conference in rebounding offense and blocked shots.

The Terrier offense is the most diverse team in the conference. 13 different players have scored ten or more points this season, not only most in the conference, but they’re the only team in the nation to do that. Eric Fanning leads the team in scoring, with 14.9 points a game, good for fourth best in the conference. Cheddi Mosely and John Papale have also averaged double digit points for the season, at 13.8 and 11.5 points a game respectively.

The offense can get in gear with good three point shooting, but with improved play from the front court recently, they can score inside too. Nick Havener has emerged as an impact player this year, Blaise Mbargorba has matured into a reliable contributor, and Dylan Haines has improved his play this year. As long as they stay out of foul trouble, they can give Bucknell a run for their money and stand up strong in their biggest test of the season so far.

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