Feb. 4, 2014
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BOSTON - Seeking the program's first in-season sweep of a Patriot League opponent, the Boston University men's basketball team will visit Navy on Wednesday with action slated to begin at 7 p.m.
The Terriers (15-8, 8-2 PL) are coming off a two-game homestand in which they participated in back-to-back overtime games for the first time since 2008-09. Senior D.J. Irving went 8-of-8 at the charity stripe in the final 1:31 to help BU beat Army (86-81) before Lehigh's Mackey McKnight hit a last-second layup in Saturday's 82-80 loss.
Irving recorded 20+ points in back-to-back contests for the first time in his career and has now reached double figures in five straight games after only hitting the mark once in the previous five games. He is second on the team in scoring at 12.7 ppg behind sophomore Maurice Watson Jr. (14.0 ppg) but does lead the team during conference play at 13.2 ppg. The two guards have combined for 8.7 apg and 3.3 spg in league action.
On Saturday, senior Dom Morris scored 17 points to become the 33rd-ever Terrier to reach the 1,000-point milestone. He is just 20 rebounds away from becoming the sixth to reach 1,000 points and 700 rebounds. He is averaging a personal-best 11.6 ppg and 6.7 rpg while shooting 51.3 percent from the field.
The Terriers have used nine men on a regular basis during the first 10 games of the Patriot League schedule. Freshman Cedric Hankerson has proved key off the bench during the last two games, averaging 14.0 ppg while shooting 80.0 percent from behind the arc. Sophomore John Papale is averaging two made 3-pointers per game and has increased his scoring average to 10.1 ppg while shooting 47.4 percent.
BU is averaging 70.5 ppg and is holding conference opponents to 66.2 ppg. Sophomore Nathan Dieudonne is averaging 5.8 rpg to help BU out-rebound teams by a positive margin of 1.6. The Terriers have swatted away 23 shot attempts in the last 10 games after recording just 15 in the first 13 contests. They are also averaging 7.0 steals while finishing ahead in turnover margin at +0.8.
The defense had its best performance of the season back on Jan. 7 in the 55-32 victory against Navy (7-14, 2-8 PL). The Midshipmen were held to their lowest scoring output since a 33-21 defeat to Penn State on Feb. 6, 1943. They went 11-of-53 (.208) in the contest, the lowest mark allowed by BU since Hartford went 7-of-48 (.146) in 2005.
The Terriers will have to push that game aside in their minds, as Navy is a far better team at home with a 6-3 record compared to its 1-11 road record. The Mids own big wins in Alumni Hall against Bucknell (62-61), UMBC (73-58) and Lafayette (79-71). They almost picked up a seventh victory but were edged by Lehigh in overtime, 68-66.
Navy averages 60.6 ppg and is just ahead of BU in field goal percentage defense (44.1 - 44.3 FG%). Worth Smith leads the Mids in scoring (11.1 ppg), rebounding (5.2 rpg) and blocks (1.2 bpg). He'll be extra motivated for Navy after the Terriers prevented him from scoring a single point on six attempts.
BU leads the all-time series, 3-0, with the first meeting occurring at the 1959 NCAA tournament. The Terriers won that match-up in overtime, 62-55, to reach the Elite Eight.
After visiting the Mids for the first time in program history, the Terriers will return to Agganis Arena to host Lafayette on Saturday (Feb. 8) at 1 p.m.