Previewing the Terriers

At 4 o'clock on Sunday afternoon, the 7-5 Terriers of Boston University visit Hagan Arena to take on the 6-4 Saint Joseph's Hawks. The Terriers are coming to Philadelphia feeling good about themselves, having just earned an 83-77 win at Maryland. Get a closer look at this match-up inside.

Boston University snapped a three-game losing streak on the 21st when they went into ACC country and knocked off Mark Turgeon's Maryland Terrapins. In that contest, the Terriers got 25 points from Chester (PA) native DJ Irving. That win snapped a streak of three losses that included Harvard, George Washington, and Norfolk State.

Saint Joseph's is currently riding a two-game winning streak, with a 20-point home win over City 6 rival Drexel and an 88-77 road win at Towson (MD). The Hawks led Towson 60-24 at the half of that one, before playing a lackadaisical second half and actually letting the Greyhounds close the gap to single digits. SJU was led by Ronald Roberts' 20 points, and 17-point efforts from sophomore forward Isaiah Miles and junior point guard Chris Wilson.

Boston U is led by three Philadelphia-area players, in Irving, point guard Maurice Watson, and 6'7 240-pound power forward Dom Morris.

Watson, a 5'10 floor general, attended Philadelphia's Boys' Latin High School. He leads the Terriers in both points and assists, averaging 14.5 points and 6.5 dimes per game. Watson is a bear to keep out of the lane and possesses elite quickness. He can try to be a bit flashy at times, which is why he is somewhat turnover-prone, averaging 3.4 a game. In their overtime loss to Norfolk State, Maurice fell just two rebounds short of a triple double, finishing with 16 points, 12 assists, and 8 rebounds. He could give the Hawks some trouble on Sunday.

His backcourt-mate, 6-foot senior DJ Irving, played his high school ball at Archbishop Carroll (PA). Irving can shoot the ball well from three, hitting from there at a 41% clip so far this season. He had 25 against Maryland, 23 against George Washington, and 22 against Quinnipiac. In fact, he's gone over 20 in 3 of his past 5 games. The issue with Irving is consistency. He can shoot himself into and out of games. While he was outstanding against Maryland, GW, and Quinnipiac, he also has games this year where he's shot 1-8 (Northeastern), 1-9 (St. Peter's), and 2-9 (LIU Brooklyn). If he is on though, he and Watson could give the Hawks' backcourt of Chris Wilson and Langston Galloway all they can handle.

The third Philadelphia-area player on BU's roster is Dom Morris, who played his high school ball at Friends Central (PA). Morris is a bruising power forward averaging 12.5 points and 7 rebounds a contest. The senior does most, if not all, of his damage inside, and will be guarded there, in all likelihood by Halil Kanacevic. Morris is mostly a below-the-rim guy who could be comparable to Drexel's bigs. Kanacevic had the game of his college career against Drexel. Morris is a good player, but also the type of player that Halil often has success against.

While Irving, Watson, and Morris are Boston University's primary scorers, and only double-digit scorers, another name to keep an eye on is John Papale. Papale, a 6'3 sophomore shooting guard, is not putting up eye-popping numbers, but he is the type of player that has given the Hawks some trouble in recent years. Only a 31% shooter from three on the year, Papale has shown that he can go off from deep though. He went 6-11 from three for 18 points in BU's overtime loss to Norfolk State. He also shot 4-10 from deep against LIU Brooklyn. With the Hawks likely determined to shut down Irving and Watson, Papale is a guy worth monitoring.

While RPI is still somewhat meaningless at this point of the season, we will take a quick glance there now. According to RealtimeRPI.com, Saint Joseph's enters Sunday's home tilt with an RPI of 77 and the Terriers enter at 115.

Sunday's game is a critical one for the Hawks. At 6-4, they have three home games this week. Following Sunday's game with BU, they get both Binghamton and Denver at home before traveling to UMass to begin Atlantic 10 play. A sweep of these three home games would get St. Joe's to 9-4 heading into A10 play. Of the three, the Terriers are likely the most dangerous opponent, especially given the fact that they star three Philly natives who will be looking to prove a point in their trip to Hagan Arena.

With a win at Maryland to their resume, the Terriers will not be intimidated by Hagan Arena, especially given the fact that students are on Winter Break. Sunday's game time was moved from 5 to 4 o'clock due to the Eagles-Cowboys game at 8:30. I will be at Hagan on Sunday, with a complete recap to follow.

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