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Terriers set to take on George Washington in home opener

The Boston University men’s basketball team will host George Washington University in its 2012 home opener on Saturday at Case Gymnasium.

The Terriers (0–2) are coming off of two difficult losses. The first loss came against Northeastern University on Nov. 9.

BU traveled across town to Matthews Arena and played solid basketball throughout the first half. The second half did not go as smoothly, as the Terriers began to lose control. It seemed as if they were going to hold onto their lead, but the Huskies (1–0) beat the Terriers on a last-second 3-pointer.

On Monday, BU looked to rebound against Canisius College. The Terriers went to Buffalo, N.Y., and lost a battle with the Golden Griffins (1–0).

BU trailed most of the game, but closed the gap to three points with less than three minutes remaining in regulation. The Canisius defense used the energy from the crowd at its home opener and shut down BU’s offense in the final two minutes to pull out the 83–75 victory.

As the Terriers approach their matchup with George Washington, they will be focused on holding off the Colonial offense, which has averaged 72.5 points per game so far this season.

“[George Washington University is] another tough team. They’re very long and athletic,” said BU coach Joe Jones. “[Similar to] Canisius in that they have a lot of new players, a transfer and some new players that will be in their second game that are probably trying to figure things out … We’ve got to do a better job as a unit.”

On defense, BU will have to try and keep the ball away from senior Isiah Armwood. The forward transferred after playing two years at Villanova University.

Armwood is coming off a strong performance against Youngstown State University (0–1) that the Colonials lost, 80–73. During the season opener, Armwood led the way with 18 points, five rebounds and one block.

If the Terriers keep the ball away from Armwood, they will force younger, less experienced players to take shots. Youngstown State showed that when other Colonial players are forced to take contested shots, they are more likely to miss.

While Jones said he would like to see his team have better ball distribution, BU may have to count on junior guard and star of the team D.J. Irving. Irving played 32 of 40 minutes on Monday against Canisius and carried the team. The Chester, Pa., native scored 20 points, grabbed two rebounds, dished out five assists and recorded one steal.

“We’ll take what the defense gives us,” Jones said. “We’ve got to get more guys involved offensively.”

With the addition of freshman guard Maurice Watson Jr., Irving has been playing at shooting guard much more often than he did during the 2011–12 season. The position change provides him with more scoring opportunities and highlights his speed and versatility on the court. If he can have another good outing, with help from his supporting cast, the Terriers’ offense will succeed against the Colonial defense.

“Both [Irving] and Maurice Watson do a good job of getting in the lane and putting pressure on defenses,” Jones said.

Freshman guard John Papale will look to add on to his breakout performance against Canisius on Monday. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard scored 17 points in his second collegiate game while contributing three rebounds and an assist in 28 minutes off the bench.

Sunday should be another good test for this young BU team as it looks to get its first win of the season in order to start moving in a more positive direction.

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