By: Dave Souza
BOSTON — The last time the Boston University Men’s Basketball team took the floor at Case Gym, they were taking on an American University squad who would go on to upset the then-third seeded Terriers in the Patriot League tournament. After a long off-season and an opening night loss to crosstown rival Northeastern, the Terriers finally host their long awaited home opener on Friday against those same Huskies in the Steve Wright Classic.
The tournament gets underway on Friday night with the Terriers (0-1) battling with NU (1-0) and will extend through the weekend to Monday night. Saturday will feature a double header as BU takes on the University of Maine (1-1) while Northeastern battles with Long Island University – Brooklyn (2-0). The following day the Terriers and the Blackbirds will square off with the Huskies and Black Bears dueling before the Classic comes to a close on Monday with a Maine and LIU contest.
In last week’s battle at Matthews Arena, the Huskies defeated the Terriers 87-77 in spite of a 29-point performance by senior Eric Fanning. The guard accounted for 10 of BU’s 28 field goals made and went a stellar nine for 12 from the line. One of four Terriers to record double-digit points on the night, Fanning scored as many as all four other starters combined.
Not to be outdone however was Northeastern’s T.J Williams, who posted 30 points in the affair. While the senior guard recorded one less field goal than Fanning, Williams’ main contribution came from the free throw line, where he scored 11 of his points while missing just four attempts.
Williams was also helped by forward Alex Murphy and his 20 points as Northeastern’s starters outscored BU’s 75-58.
Both teams both shot poorly from beyond the arc as the Terriers converted on just eight of their 30 three-point attempts while the Huskies were a tick better, knocking down 10 of 21.
Cedric Hankerson notched six points in his season debut — his first game back since suffering a lower-body injury in December of last season.
Maine comes to Boston a week removed from their opening night loss to Virginia Tech. The Hokies outlasted the Black Bears by 13 last Friday before Maine headed to Longwood University, where they beat the Lancers 80-58.
Though the season is in its early stages, Maine has been led by the likes of Wes Myers and Ilker Er – both of whom are averaging over 10 points per game. Myers, a junior guard from Brooklyn, N.Y., is returning to college basketball after sitting out last year due to the NCAA’s transfer rules. A former product of Niagara University, Myers averaged 9.7 PPG as a sophomore while shooting a sharp 70 percent from the line.
Another transfer, this time from San Jacinto Junior College, Er has taken nicely as a guard for the Black Bears this season. A six-foot-six junior from Istanbul, Er has been averaging around 20 minutes per game and has knocked down 24 points in that span.
A smaller program from the Northeast Conference, LIU comes to The Roof with a perfect 2-0 record that features a win over Loyola Maryland – one of BU’s Patriot League foes. Leading the way for the Blackbirds thus far have been a pair of seniors from New Jersey, Jerome Frink and Joel Hernandez. Frink leads LIU in scoring, rattling off 33 points in his first two games this season. While Hernandez has only appeared in one contest this year, his 17 points in that outing gave him the team-lead in points per game.
LIU’s defense has been the Blackbirds greatest weapon in this early season as they have held opposing offenses to just a 26.7 shooting percentage. That total is far below Northeastern, who allowed BU to shoot 40.8 percent in their lone contest this year. Maine’s defense has statistically been the worst of the three teams this season as opponents are shooting at 42 percent against the Black Bears.
An entire slew of basketball games are on tap for this weekend at BU’s Case Gym. Make sure to catch all the action from Friday to Monday as the Terriers look to notch their first win of the season and then some.