Belmont (8-3) vs. Boston University (5-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, December 28, 9:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UCF Arena (9,465) -- Orlando, Florida. Television: None. Home Record: Belmont 4-0, Boston University 3-1. Away Record: Belmont 3-2, Boston University 2-5. Neutral Record: Belmont 1-1, Boston University 0-0. Conference Record: Belmont 0-0, Boston University 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAMES NOTES: As part of the UCF Holiday Classic the Belmont Bruins and the Boston University Terriers will collide on Friday night at UCF Arena in Orlando, Florida.
Belmont bounced back from an 89-60 rout to Kansas with a 76-49 defeat of South Dakota State last Wednesday. The win pushed the Bruins to 8-3 overall this season and was the third win in the last four games for the squad. Belmont split its two other neutral site games during its stint in the Great Alaska Shootout back in November.
Boston University is coming in hot, as the Terriers knocked off Cornell, 70-57, at home last Saturday to earn their fifth win in the last six contests. That has helped Boston University improve to 5-6 overall after a rough start to the year. The Terriers have not played on a neutral court this season but are 2-5 away from home.
The winner of this game will take on either UCF or Howard on Saturday. The loser of each game will also be paired up.
This game is the first ever between these two programs.
Belmont turned in impressive performances on both ends of the floor in the win over South Dakota State. The Bruins hit on 55.8 percent of their shots from the floor and held SDSU to just 27.0 percent shooting the in the game. Belmont also had a 43-30 edge in rebounds and outscored SDSU 21-9 from beyond the arc. Trevor Noack led four players in double figures with 23 points.
On the year Belmont has largely beaten up on its opposition with a sizable +11.6 scoring margin. Belmont is scoring 75.2 points per game and connecting on 47.7 percent of its shots from the field. The Bruins' field goal percentage is the top mark in the Ohio Valley Conference as is its assists total (15.3 pg). Ian Clark (17.3 ppg) has been the top scoring option on the roster and is shooting at an impressive 54.3 percent from the floor. Kerron Johnson (13.6 ppg, 4.8 apg) is also scoring in double figures, while facilitating the offense with Noack (12.8 ppg).
The Terriers turned a halftime deficit against Cornell into a double-digit victory by connecting on 52.4 percent of their shots from the field in the second half including a 5-of-11 showing from beyond the arc. BU also outscored the Big Red 24-18 on points off turnovers, while D.J. Irving scored a game- high 23 points.
Irving (15.4 ppg, 3.5 apg) is the focal point for BU and is one of three scorers in double figures this year. Irving hasn't been particularly efficient in his scoring by netting just 37.1 percent of his shots from the field but he has scored at least 20 points in four games this season. Dom Morris (11.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg) is the second best scoring option and the only player bringing in more than six rebounds a game. Maurice Watson (10.0 ppg) also provides a scoring punch in the starting lineup. As a team BU scores at a pedestrian 67.5 points per game and shoots 43.2 percent from the field. On the defensive end the Terriers allow 64.2 points per game on 45.0 percent shooting.
Although BU is hot right now, the depth and efficiency of the Bruins will win out in the end.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Belmont 75, Boston University 65
12/28 10:32:38 ET