Non-Conference Breakdown: Boston University

Published by Hope Schwartz on November 08, 2012 at 3:12AM

With the Harvard men’s basketball team’s season opener less than two weeks away, The Back Page is breaking down the Crimson’s non-conference opponents. Each week, we will take a look at two new foes. Last week, we profiled Boston College. Next up is Boston University.

Harvard got off to a slow start against Boston University last year, but after a 20-1 run at the end of the second half, the Crimson opened up a lead that the Terriers couldn’t crack.

Harvard ran away with a 76-52 victory behind a game-high 20 points for Kyle Casey and 18 from then-sophomore Laurent Rivard.

This year BU is banned from the postseason after announcing its impending move to the Patriot League, but the program maintains that the ban won’t impact its goals or work ethic for the season.

But the reality is that the impact of the ban on the program became especially apparent after the Terriers’ 6’9” forward Jake O’Brien, who was injured during BU’s last NCAA appearance in 2011, decided to transfer to Temple in his final year of eligibility.

O’Brien—the 2009 America East Rookie of the Year—averaged career highs of 13.8 ppg and 6.4 rpg in his sophomore season with the Terriers.

The loss of O’Brien will compound the graduation of the Terriers’ top scorer Darryl Partin, who averaged 19.6 points and 3.9 rebounds last year.

Partin was the 49th overall pick in the NBA Development Draft, following his selection as the America East Player of the Year in 2012.

But the Terriers’ offense is deep, and the team’s two other offensive standouts will be juniors this year. The team will look to guard DJ Irving (11.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg) and forward Dom Morris (6.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg) for scoring.

The BU team is young, with only seven players returning from last year’s 12-4 conference run, and only three players were with the 2011 America East champion squad.

Joining the Terriers is a talented four-man freshman class, led by ESPN Top 100 recruit Maurice Watson, Jr. The point guard was named to the 40-man 2012 PARADE All-American team, and joining Watson is Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball, 6’7” forward Nathan Dieudonne.

Adding depth is John Papale, one of ESPN’s top 25 three-point shooters nationwide, and Justin Alston, a 6’8” forward.