Men’s B-ball Terriers Host Patriot League Tournament Tonight
Regular season conference title clinched, sights set on NCAA
One season. That’s all it took for the men’s basketball Terriers to make an impression in the Patriot League. After winning seven of their final eight conference games in their inaugural season with the league, they are regular season champions and conference tournament hosts. Starting tonight, when the team takes on Lafayette, BU will look to navigate the field and win an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. It would be the Terriers’ first NCAA appearance since 2011.
Named number one seed in Patriot League preseason polls, the Terriers sputtered out of the gate, playing a difficult nonconference schedule. Once conference play began, however, they were all business. Head coach Joe Jones led BU to its first 20-win season in nine years and a regular-season conference title as the team went 15-3 against Patriot League competition.
“We’re in the final stretch now, and it’s been a great first season in the Patriot League,” says Jones. “We’ve been able to accomplish a lot, but I know we have a whole lot more to accomplish, and I feel like the guys are eager to finish strong.”
If the Terriers get past Lafayette tonight, they may face off against a red-hot Bucknell University team that defeated them 63-53 February 23. The Bucknell Bison, led by Patriot League Player of the Year Cameron Ayer, have won six straight games heading into the tournament. Bucknell’s recent victory over American University allowed the Terriers to clinch the conference title by taking care of business with a 68-64 win over Holy Cross last Saturday.
In addition to BU, Lafayette, American, and Bucknell, the teams vying for a Patriot League title are Army, Holy Cross, Lehigh, and Colgate. Jones says that any of those competitors could pose a formidable challenge. “Whatever team is able to execute what they do best should be able to make a run at the conference title,” he says. “The important thing for us is to focus on the task at hand and take it one game at a time.”
To capture the Patriot League championship and earn a trip to the NCAA tournament, BU will have to win three games over the next week.
Tricaptains and fellow Philadelphia natives D. J. Irving (MET’14), Travis Robinson (SMG’14), and Dom Morris (MET’14) helped the Terriers make it to the national tournament three years ago. They are looking to end their college careers on a high note by participating in the Big Dance once more.
“This is the last season for myself and the other two seniors, and we want to finish out on top,” says Robinson. “We have that opportunity again, and we’re striving to get there and represent BU proudly.”
“Those three seniors have been tremendous ambassadors of our program,” says Jones. “They’re great leaders, great teammates, and great people. It’s been our goal throughout the season to lock down a regular season championship and earn the top seed in the conference tournament, because we want to send those guys out as winners with another NCAA tournament berth.”
The Boston University men’s basketball team will face Lafayette in the Patriot League quarterfinals at 7 p.m. tonight, March 5, at Agganis Arena, 925 Commonwealth Ave. Tickets are $14 and can be purchased at the Agganis Arena box office or online here.
Nate Weitzer can be reached at email@example.com Comments