WRITTEN BY ROBERT DEVITA
Men’s Basketball: After a grueling season where the Terriers have played through a number of ups and downs, they will go on the road to take on the Mount Saint Mary’s Mountaineers in the quarterfinals of the NEC Tournamnet.
The beautiful thing about the playoffs is that every team can forget about the regular season, as they enter the playoffs with a clean slate. This season the Terriers finished (18-13, 9-7 NEC) which earned them the fifth seed in the NEC. They will go on the road and take on the fourth seeded Mount Saint Mary’s Mountaineers who were (13-16, 9-7 NEC) this year.
Even though both teams had the same conference record and the Terriers had a better overall record, the Mountaineers will still host the playoff game due to the fact that they hold the tie breaker between the two teams. The Mountaineers defeated the Terriers 88-82 in the teams only meeting on Jan. 1st, which is how home court was decided for this game.
The Terriers have played some solid basketball down the final stretch of the season. They come into this game riding a two game winning streak where they were able to knock off the number third seeded Bryant University Bulldogs and eighth seeded Fairleigh Dickinson University Knights. These two wins were huge for the Terriers as they were coming off a stretch where they dropped three of four games all by two points or less.
The two victories to close out the season were much needed as it should give the Terriers a source of momentum heading into Wednesday evenings with the Mountaineers. These two teams only meet once this season and the Mountaineers were able to get the best of the Terriers, defeating them 88-82 in a high scoring affair.
That afternoon the Terriers were led by Junior forward Jalen Cannon, which comes as no surprise because Cannon has been the best on the team all season long. That night Cannon scored 25 points on 11-14 shooting and he was able to grab 11 rebounds for one of his nine double-doubles on the season. Despite Cannon’s terrific performance the Terriers were unable to come out on the winning end of this one, as they were just not capable of shutting down the Mountaineer offense.
The Mountaineers had offense was hitting on all cylinders in the last meeting. As a team they shot 49.2% from the field, 42.1% from three and 87% from the free-throw line. They has four players score in double-figures, Senior guard Julian Norfleet led the way with 24 points on 9-17 shooting.
Senior guard Rashad Whack was right behind him with 18 points, Senior guard Sam Prescott scored 13 points and Freshman guard Byron Ashe was able to come off the bench to score 16 points on an impressive 7-10 shooting in 24 minutes. If the Terriers want to have any shot of advancing to the next round of the playoffs they can not allow this many players beat them.
It’s understandable when one or two guys are able to have solid games, it happens. When four guys are able to put up big time numbers, thats when you begin to fall into trouble and the Terriers did because they were overwhelmed by a fierce scoring attack.
The key to victory for the Terriers is to play the style of basketball that they have been so successful with all season long. That would be to take care of business on the defensive end of the ball and let th offense fall into place. They are in no position to be getting into a shoot out with anyone so it is essential that they control the game on the defensive end.
As far as their offensive attack, they always manage to pull something together. Cannon has been there all season long and so has Senior guard Ben Mockford, who did have a quite game the last time these teams meet soo look for him to redeem himself. They need a team effort though here in the postseason, down the stretch we have seen some outstanding play from Sophomore forward Amdy Fall.
Fall needs to carry over that play into the postseason, because if he is on his game he poses a tough matchup due to his length and shot blocking ability. To go along with Fall the Terriers need their floor general Junior guard Brent Jones to bring his A game like he has for the most part of the season, because if he is able to exploit the Mountaineers defense that will only mean big things for the Terriers offense.
This has the potential to be a very good game as these teams matchup very well against one another. Do not miss any of the action as this game will be televised live on Wednesday Mar. 5th, at 7 pm on MSG+2, Fox College Sports (FCS) and Root Pittsburgh.