Basketball, NCAA, Sports

BU defense subdues greatness of Danes

On game day, Curtis Wilson takes his usual spot on the bench a few seats down from Boston University men’s basketball coach Joe Jones and does his coaching from there. He is two months into his first year as a member of the BU coaching staff and rarely given the credit he deserves for the Terriers’ on-court success.

That all changed, though, due to his invaluable contributions these past few days in having BU (8-11, 4-1 America East) well prepared and equipped with solid strategies for its Monday night matchup with the University at Albany (12-8, 4-2 America East), a 70-57 win.

Wilson, whose game plan limited the Great Danes to almost 18 points below their season average and held their dynamic guards Gerardo Suero and Mike Black to 19 total points on a combined 5-of-23 shooting, scouted Albany to perfection. As a result, BU had considerable success in neutralizing the conference’s second-highest scoring offense.

Jones made sure to praise his assistant coach’s efforts following the Terriers’ win over the Great Danes at Agganis Arena.

“Just the things that Coach Wilson stressed in my first meeting with him, the things that we needed to do against them, how we needed to play Suero, how we needed to guard Black, how we needed to attack them offensively, he was right on target,” Jones said. “We were able to get together and put a good game plan together. He deserves a lot of the credit. He did a great job.”

As they have done night in and night out, sophomore guard D.J. Irving and senior swingman Darryl Partin led the way offensively with 17 and 15 points, respectively, for BU, which has now won four straight games, matching its longest winning streak of the season.

Albany coach Will Brown recognized the talent of the top-two BU scorers on the night, referring to Irving as the Terriers’ “best player” and Partin as “their best scorer.”

Four hours before tip-off, Brown got word of the death of guard Logan Aronhalt’s grandfather. However, the 6-foot-3 guard still suited up, netting a game-high 20 points.

Aronhalt picked up the slack on offense for Black, who missed five of his seven shots in the second half.

Suero, who entered the tilt as the nation’s fourth-leading scorer at 22.4 points per game, only scored six points – all coming in the first half – on 1-of-10 shooting to go along with eight turnovers in 25 minutes.

Despite coming up empty on a couple of easy attempts at the rim in the opening minutes, BU stormed out to an early 10-2 lead behind two layups from senior forward Patrick Hazel, an Irving straightaway 3-pointer and a right-corner trey by sophomore forward Travis Robinson.

But Albany would retort, reeling off a 14-0 run to grab a 16-10 edge with 9:04 left in the first half.

Albany’s advantage would fluctuate between two and six points over the next several minutes, but sophomore reserve guard Mike Terry Jr. jumpstarted a stagnant BU offense once he was subbed in midway through the half.

With Partin not hitting from the field and Irving serving as a facilitator, Terry Jr. recorded a career-high seven points during a momentum-swinging three-minute stretch. His left-handed layup at 15:24 put the Terriers back on top, 23-21.

“He took advantage of his minutes today,” Brown said of Terry Jr., who keyed the run that gave BU a lead it would not surrender for the remainder of the contest. “A kid like that, you gotta give him credit for giving them a spark. He did a nice job.”

After emerging from the tunnel with a 32-25 halftime cushion, BU unleashed a 21-5 run out of the break and stretched its lead to as many as 23 points in the second session on a Hazel layup at the 9:27 mark.

Following his eighth and final turnover, Brown pulled Suero from the game at 11:54 in a move he deemed as “a learning experience” for his star guard, who failed to score in double figures for just the first time all season.

“He’s the best player in the league offensively,” Brown said. “I’ve been waiting for one of those games. I’m glad I’ve had to wait until this point. He got frustrated, a combination of BU doing a really good job on him and him getting very frustrated. He just wasn’t there today.”

Aronhalt netted 10 consecutive points, including three triples in a row at one juncture, and Black buried a 3-pointer of his own to cut the deficit to 10 with fewer than five minutes remaining in the game. But Albany would get no closer than that.

For a player who has struggled with his stroke from the charity stripe this season, Irving has made strides as of late from the free-throw line, converting on 5-of-6 freebies in the final 86 seconds to secure the victory on Monday.

With wins over the University of Maine, Stony Brook University and Albany under its belt, BU has positioned itself as one of the frontrunners for the America East conference crown.

“Those three teams were supposed to be the best teams in the conference,” Irving said. “I think it’s a good job on our part to make a statement now.”

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  1. Laurie and Dan Emery

    Great work, BU!! We are also especially proud of Coach Wilson; he is a favorite!

  2. I have known Coach Wilson all my life, and he has always been a on point guy to me. He puts forth a great effort and mind to whatever he does. His great qualities allow me to be great and push harder in whaterver I do. Coach Wilson I,m so proud of you and not because your my brother just because your a great person. Love you
    Your Sis Angela