Basketball, Sports

BU opens Case with a win

Nothing about the Boston University men’s basketball team’s win over St. Peter’s College on Saturday was unusual. Save a late run by the Peacocks that made the final score (67-62) closer than it should have been, the Terriers acquired their second win of the season in a business-like fashion. Sure there were exciting moments, questionable calls and untimely turnovers, but the game itself was stagnant.

That is until the last comment of BU coach Dennis Wolff’s press conference, when he said this:

‘For whatever reason I don’t know if we appreciate how hard it’s going to be to have a winning season,’ Wolff said. ‘We have the thought that we think we’re going to win because we’ve got some kind of God-given right to win. We have to grind it out. We have more talent, but we’re not the ’86 Celtics. We need to understand how difficult it’s going to be.’

Which begs the question: Why the lack of appreciation for winning?

It’s not as though the past three years (the maximum span of time in which every player, save Matt Wolff, has been with the team) have been cakewalks. In fact, they haven’t even been winning seasons. Granted, the Terriers were heavy favorites against St. Peter’s and didn’t disappoint, but not recognizing the significance of every victory is a different issue altogether, especially given the steadfast commitment to success expressed by players prior to the start of the season.

Wolff’s comments ‘-‘- which he also told his team in the locker room after the game ‘-‘- are slightly more perplexing given BU’s performance Saturday. The Terriers were outworked down low as an undersized St. Peter’s squad won the rebounding battle, 36-25, and scored 26 points in the paint. Other than that and 18 turnovers, there were few flaws in BU’s first win of the season at Case Gymnasium.

John Holland didn’t play as if BU was entitled to the win. The sophomore forward scored 18 of his game-high 26 points in the second half, again exhibiting the variety of ways in which he can score ‘-‘- the most exciting of which was an alley-oop from Corey Lowe that capped a personal 9-0 run by Holland and an 11-2 run by the Terriers to start the second half.

Lowe was the only other Terrier to reach double figures, as he turned in his most complete game of the season. Not only did the junior guard score 17 points, but he dished out six assists, collected two steals and grabbed four rebounds ‘-‘- a mark that ended up being a team high as three other players also pulled down four.

‘I think my role this year is just to make plays however I can,’ Lowe said. ‘We have John scoring a lot of points right now and Jake [O’Brien’s] been putting up a lot of points, so I don’t necessarily need to score a lot of points. I’m looking to contribute by passing the ball or by getting things situated.’

The other standout aspect of Lowe’s game came on the defensive end, where he had to guard SPC’s best player, Wesley Jenkins, who was averaging 22.5 points per game coming into the contest. Jenkins finished with 17, but never established a rhythm against Lowe’s tight defense.

‘I thought Corey did a fabulous job defensively on [Jenkins],’ Wolff said. ‘He got a few baskets, but never any that really got [St. Peter’s] back in the game where they could really make a hard run prior to the end.’

O’Brien, on the other hand, struggled for the first time in his collegiate career, connecting on 2-of-9 shots – 1-of-6 from beyond the arc – though his two free throws with 7:56 remaining in the second half did give BU its largest lead of the afternoon, 52-39.

Despite O’Brien’s shooting woes, Wolff had encouraging words for both O’Brien and fellow freshman Jeff Pelage, who played just five minutes.

‘If he’s looking at the basket and his feet are set, I’ll be mad if he doesn’t shoot,’ Wolff said of O’Brien.

‘And for [Jeff] being a freshman, he needs to understand the focus. For both Jake and Jeff – for different reasons – this was a good game for us for teaching purposes,’ he added.

The coaching staff may need to begin teaching in a different capacity, however, if Wolff’s comments regarding BU’s winning mentality are as bad as they sound.

Game notes: Saturday’s win marked the first time since 2004-05 BU has won its second game before at least the fifth contest of the season. ‘hellip; Scott Brittain played in his first game of the season after missing the first two with a concussion. The 6-foot-9 forward logged 11 minutes and scored two points on a second-half baseline jumper.

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