By: Dave Souza
Not often does a team control its own destiny. However, that is the exact situation the Boston University Men’s Basketball team finds themselves in as they square off with Bucknell Sunday at noon at Case Gym.
Currently sitting in second place in the Patriot League, the Terriers (16-11, 11-4 PL) trail the league-leading Bison (20-8, 12-3 PL) by just two points with three conference battles remaining in the season.
Last time these two teams squared off, it came back on January 21 in Lewisburg, Penn. when Bucknell prevailed 70-59. In that contest, BU led by seven at halftime, only to concede 48 second half points en route to their third conference loss of the season.
Now, the Terriers will look to takeover the conference, and have a chance to do so in front of their home crowd on senior night. The scarlet and white will honor four seniors before the game, Eric Fanning, Justin Alston, Dylan Haines, and Cameron Curry.
Alston drained 20 last time out against the Bison and is coming off of a game against Colgate where he racked up his third career double-double. That performance came in a one-point win over Colgate where the senior forward grabbed 10 rebounds and scored a team-high 21 points on the night. Against the Bison almost a month ago, Alston collected six total rebounds, three on each side of the ball.
Nick Havener was the only Terrier to outrebound Alston against Bucknell, pulling down nine from the glass. Despite missing three games since the end of January, Havener’s play in the last two contests has been encouraging.
The six-foot-eight forward has grabbed eight rebounds combined since returning to the lineup, with six of them coming on Wednesday night against Colgate. On the season, Havener is averaging 5.7 boards per game – with more than double coming off the defensive glass.
The junior was also one of four players to pick up technical fouls the last time the Terriers and the Biston squared off. And with the high stakes in play for this meeting and an animated coach in Joe Jones, expect emotions to be running high at Case Sunday afternoon.
BU’s regular season record reflects the team’s inconsistent struggles, which has landed them five games over .500. However, with only one stretch of poor games since beginning Patriot League play, the Terriers still remain within striking distance of Bucknell. To shut them down, BU will have to focus on a pair of prolific scorers.
The Bison roared to an 11-point win over the scarlet and white back in January largely to the play of Nana Foulland. Against the Terriers, Foulland put up 23 points while converting on 11 of 15 of his shots from the field and grabbing a team-best six rebounds.
On the season, Foulland is averaging 14.7 points per game and is doing so by shooting an average of 61.9 percent from the field – by far the best on a very powerful Bucknell offense. He’s also been a rebounding machine, grabbing an average of 8.1 boards per game.
Zach Thomas has been the other driving force behind a Bucknell offense that is outscoring opponents by 190 points on the season. Thomas, who has started in all of the Bison’s contests this season, is averaging a team-best 15.9 points per game for the Bison.
Everytime the Terriers and the Bison square off, fireworks fly. No matter the sport, the two squads always compete and keep those in attendance thoroughly entertained. With the regular season title perhaps up for grabs tomorrow afternoon, expect both teams to battle even more so.