By: Matt Doherty
With just two games remaining in the Patriot League regular season, BU men’s basketball begins an important week when they host Army on Tuesday night.
BU (17-12, 10-6 PL) comes off a disappointing 80-59 loss to league leading Bucknell where a win would have given the Terriers a share of first place. With the defeat, BU currently sits in third place in the league, one game behind Lehigh and one game ahead of Navy and Colgate.
The Terriers have secured a first round bye for the upcoming league tournament, but these next two games will be key for BU’s seeding in the Patriot League. If the Terriers keeps winning and secure a top four seed, they will guarantee a home game in the Patriot League tournament.
That starts with the Army Black Knights on Tuesday.
Army comes into the matchup at 17-11 overall but 8-8 in the Patriot League. However, the team from West Point is playing their basketball of the season, winning four consecutive games highlighted by a thrilling 80-78 double overtime victory over archrival Navy.
Army senior forward Tanner Plomb leads the Patriot League in scoring at 20.5 PPG and fellow senior Kyle Wilson is right behind him with 16.5 PPG, good for fourth in the league.
Just like BU, Army loves to get out, run, and score the basketball, and they do it very well. The Knights are second in the league in points per game at 78.8, ahead of BU who is third at 73.2. Army also excels on the glass, averaging 40 rebounds per game to top the conference. Senior center Kevin Ferguson leads the league in rebounding at 9.5 per game.
But the Black Knights are held back by their defense. Army surrenders over 75 points per game, which is third to last in the Patriot League.
After struggling to shoot the ball in the loss at Bucknell, Terrier shot makers Cheddi Mosely, Eric Fanning, and John Papale will need to get hot in order to keep up with Army’s attack.
And with Nathan Dieudonne likely to miss his fourth straight game due to injury, it will be important for BU bigs Nick Havener, Dylan Haines, and Blaise Mbargorba to stay out of foul trouble and hit the glass.
These teams last met January 27th in West Point where BU won 76-67. But Army was without two of their three leading scorers in Plomb and Ferguson.
The Black Knights, who start five seniors, are currently sixth in the league standings so a win would help secure a first round bye, as the top six out of 10 Patriot League teams bypass the first round. Army would also inch closer to home court advantage, as the Black Knights currently sit two teams back.
With two high scoring offenses and so much at stake, it should be an exciting one at Case Gym.
The game can be seen live on American Sports Network and heard on WTBU Sports Radio. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 PM.