Feb. 17, 2015
BOSTON – Making its second appearance on the CBS Sports Network in two weeks, the Boston University men’s basketball team will visit American on Wednesday night with the national broadcast set for 7 p.m.
Both the defending Patriot League regular season champion Terriers (11-14) and PL tournament champion Eagles (14-12) are entering the matchup tied for fourth in the standings at 7-7 with four games remaining. Lehigh (8-6) sits at No. 3 with Sunday’s upcoming opponent Bucknell (10-4) currently at No. 1.
What makes Wednesday’s contest so important for seeding in the upcoming PL tournament is the fact that Holy Cross, Navy, Loyola Maryland and Lafayette are just one game behind BU and AU at 6-8.
In the first meeting back on Jan. 21, sophomore Cedric Hankerson tallied a game-high 18 points and six assists along with a school-record nine steals to help lead BU to a 59-54 victory over American. Now, the Terriers will try to earn their second sweep of the year after beating Navy twice and also try to wipe the memories of last season’s 86-56 loss at American.
During the last visit to Bender Arena, BU jumped out to an early 13-2 lead before the Eagles outscored the Terriers, 35-14, to enter the locker room ahead, 37-27. AU then shot a stifling 84.2 percent in the second while limiting BU to 21.4 percent to claim the 30-point win.
BU is 4-8 on the road this season, while American is 7-1 at home … Last week’s 74-60 win at Lafayette snapped a four-game road losing streak in conference play.
The Terriers are 0-11 this season when opponents shoot 45.0 percent or greater … In the earlier win over American, the Eagles were limited to 44.2 percent.
BU is 3-1 in its last four games … During the three wins (Navy, Lafayette, Loyola), the Terriers held all three opponents below 61 points and to a combined 38.9 percent shooting while shooting 49.7 percent.
Hankerson ranks fourth in the league in scoring at 16.0 ppg after reaching 20 points for the eighth time this season on Saturday against the Greyhounds. Sophomore Eric Fanning is averaging 19.7 ppg while shooting 58.6 percent over the last six games.
Freshman Cheddi Mosely (9.0 ppg) is 12-of-23 from behind the arc in the last four games and ranks 20th in PL-only scoring at 10.9 ppg.
Junior Nathan Dieudonne missed the previous meeting against American … He is averaging 9.7 ppg and 7.7 rpg … He had 11 rebounds on Saturday to help BU out-rebound Loyola by 14 despite the Greyhounds owning the league’s top rebounding margin.
Senior Justin Alston is averaging 7.6 ppg and 5.4 rpg … He ranks fifth in rebounding in PL-only games at 6.7 rpg and first in shooting at 61.4 FG%. SCOUTING AMERICAN
The Eagles rank 340th nationally in scoring offense (57.0 ppg) but compensate by limiting opponents to 57.3 ppg, 13th best in the nation … They also commit just 14.3 fouls per game, fifth-best mark.
American’s 88-77 home win over Lafayette this past weekend snapped a two-game losing streak in which the Eagles fell at Colgate (59-43) and Lehigh (65-58).
6-foot-5 guard Jesse Reed leads AU in scoring at 14.1 ppg and in rebounding at 5.3 rpg … In the previous meeting, he had 15 points and eight rebounds.
2014 PL Tournament MVP Pee Wee Gardner averages 10.6 ppg, 3.6 apg and 3.3 rpg while 6-foot-5 John Schoof averages 11.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg. SERIES HISTORY BU leads the all-time series, 4-2, but American has the biggest win, a 55-36 victory in the 2014 Patriot League title game held at Agganis Arena. American won at home, 86-56, and avenged the Terriers’ 71-62 home regular-season win in the PL Final. The two teams first met in 1997 with BU winning the first meeting and then the 1998 contest. UP NEXT
BU will compete in its final road regular season game of the year when the Terriers travel to current Patriot League leader Bucknell on Sunday (Feb. 22) with tip-off slated for 12 p.m.
The Bison owned a two-point lead at halftime and shot 69.6 percent in the second stanza … Bucknell led by four with 10 minutes left and pulled away for the 92-77 win over the Terriers.