By: Dave Souza
After winning a thriller over Army last week, the Boston University Men’s Basketball team gets back on the bus to face off with the Lehigh Mountain Hawks Monday night at 7 p.m. The Terriers (11-10, 6-3 PL) come into the contest tied for third in the conference with the host Mountain Hawks (12-8, 6-3 PL).
Since Patriot League play began, senior forward Justin Alston has been converting at an absurd rate, sinking 60.8 percent of his shots. The big man has been integral to the Terriers success this season as BU has thrived when Alston, fellow-senior Nick Havener, and freshman Tyler Scanlon all play well in the paint.
The trio has allowed BU to maintain possession through rebounds while being so lethal offensively that three-point shooters are covered less, leading to open shots and made threes.
Sharp-shooters like senior Eric Fanning and junior Cedric Hankerson have been the beneficiaries of BU’s stellar play down low. Fanning has been spearheading the Terrier offense this season, leading the team in scoring with 14.6 points per-game. Last week against Army, Fanning dropped a career-best 32 after converting on 11 field goals and going 8-of-9 from the line. The senior is also leading the Terriers in averaged rebounds per game as Fanning snags 6.3 per contest.
Hankerson re-found his scoring touch against Army and hopes to stay more consistent in his game-to-game strategy. And while the redshirt junior failed to convert at all in the second half, his 13 first-half points are proof that he can still deliver big time points for BU.
Fanning, Hankerson, and Alston will look to stifle a Lehigh team that has a potent offense. The Mountain Hawks are currently 17th in the nation in field goal percentage at 42.9 percent while being ranked 76th in scoring offense.
Last time out against the Mountain Hawks, the Terriers were charged with silencing Lehigh forward Tim Kempton. In the matchup, BU prevailed, however Kempton still did damage with 16 points and eight rebounds. Alston will again have to focus on shutting down a premiere big man in this crucial conference tilt, however, the Terriers will still have to face Kahron Ross.
Ross shot 50 percent from beyond the arc against BU while also converting on three of his four foul shots. He also made four steals – double the highest amount turned in by any other player in the contest. The Terriers will look to their guards to try and maintain Ross from taking over the game.
With both offensive and defensive battles slated for Monday night, the Terriers will have to win a crucial road conference game in a hostile environment in order to keep pace with the Patriot League’s best. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Lehigh’s Stabler Arena.