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BOSTON - Seeking its fifth victory in six games, the Boston University men's basketball team hosts Ivy League member Cornell on Saturday with tip-off set for 1 p.m. The Terriers (4-6) and Big Red (4-7) are meeting for the third straight season.
The lone team in the America East to feature five men averaging eight or more points a game, BU is led offensively by junior D.J. Irving. Averaging a team-high 14.6 ppg, the 2012 All-Conference Second Team honoree has scored 20 or more points on three occasions and just needs 15 more assists to claim sole possession of 10th place in the school's career record book.
Second in scoring at 11.2 ppg, junior Dom Morris has played a crucial role in the team's recent success. Over the last five games, he's averaging 12.6 ppg while shooting a stifling 59.1 percent from the field. Other players have also made important contributions.
Hitting the 3-pointer to send the Quinnipiac game to overtime, freshman John Papale finished with a game-high 16 points. Both he and juniorTravis Robinson are combining for 4.8 treys over the last five games while shooting 51.1 percent from behind the arc. Freshman Maurice Watson Jr. is averaging 10.4 ppg on the season but more importantly has shot 52.1 percent from the field over the last five games after starting the year at 37.8 percent.
The team's defensive play has also been key with the program forcing opponents into 18.2 turnovers per game over the last five contests. One key differential from the season-opening five-game losing streak has been the emphasis on staying disciplined while defending the ball. Opponents averaged 22.8 trips to the line during BU's losing streak but since then are only making 14.4 trips.
The Terriers will need to maintain that composure against a Cornell squad that is shooting 73.6 percent at the charity stripe. Shonn Miller leads Cornell in scoring at 10.6 ppg and rebounding at 8.0 rpg. A force on both sides of the court, he is also averaging two blocks and two steals a game. Nolan Cressler is second at 8.1 ppg on a team averaging 62.4 ppg.
Owning wins over Colgate Longwood, Presbyterian and Western Michigan, the Big Red has lost seven games this season. Four of them though came on the road against major conference opponents, including No. 1 Duke and defending SEC champion Vanderbilt. Two of the other defeats were by four points at defending A-10 champion St. Bonaventure and St. Peter's.
Cornell has a 2-1 all-time record in the series with the last two games decided by six points or less. Two years ago at Case Gym, Darryl Partin ('12) scored 30 of his 32 points in the second half to help BU claim a 66-60 victory over the Big Red. Last year, BU missed a game-tying 3-pointer with 44 seconds remaining. Cornell then went 7-of-8 at the line to finish ahead, 71-66.
Following Saturday's game, BU will next head south for the UCF Holiday Tournament in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 28-29.
The Last Meeting
November 20, 2011
|Cornell Outlasts Men's Basketball, 71-66|
Despite senior Darryl Partin recording a game-high 29 points and sophomore Dom Morris hauling in a career-high 14 rebounds, the Boston University men's basketball team dropped a 71-66 decision at Cornell Sunday afternoon.