AExtra begins its previews for the national broadcasts of America East basketball.
Stony Brook vs. Boston University – 12 p.m., ESPN3
The last time the Stony Brook and Boston University got together on the hardwood, the America East men’s basketball title was on the line
That nail-biting, intense, down to the wire slobberknocker saw Boston U. climb the ladder and cut down the net.
While the winner of Saturday’s matchup isn’t bound for NCAA Tournament glory, expect the same intensity and the same physicality from the two teams that topped the preseason coaches’ poll earlier this season.
We talked with the head coaches from both squads about the season and the rematch of the 2011 America East Championship Game…
Joe Jones on getting a win at Maine heading into Saturday…
“We’ve have a tough road so I think the guys are feeling much better much more confident going further. We played a terrific second half so hopefully we can build off of it.”
Steve Pikiell on the Seawolves’ current six-game winning streak…
“I really like the way we’re playing right now. We’re playing good defense and we’re kind of locked in to the keys of the game and we’re getting a lot of contributions from our whole team. We’ve had nine leading scorers out of an 11-man roster so we’ve got a lot of guys doing a lot of good things and believing in our defense and playing unselfishly.”
Joe Jones on getting D.J. Irving back to full strength….
“That was tough for us losing him, but now having him back, he’s such a catalyst for us in so many ways it’s definitely a big bonus.”
Steve Pikiell on the progression of Tommy Brenton…
“Now physically he’s really starting to come into his own. He’s starting to rebound and jump like he used to. And he does so many things for us, I think he leads us in most categories, so I’m please with the way he’s progressed.”
Joe Jones on Stony Brook
“Stony Brook really has a lot of pieces. They have a great point guard in Dougher and then they have some great pieces around him. They have a lot of guys that can make shots, can bring guys off the bench that can score. They play very good defense and they are a very good team…They will come in here with a chip on their shoulder because they lost in a tough, though battle in the championship last year, so we really expect this one to be a blood bath on Saturday.”
Steve Pikiell on Boston University…
“They are very good, picked to win our league. Darryl Partin’s one of the best players in the league, they’ve got a real good point guard and they’re always challenging whenever we play them. Coach Jones has them playing real well now in conference play…they’ve got a lot of guys back from the championship team last year. Every time we play BU it’s a war, and it’s going to be a war again on Saturday.”
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It will certainly be tough to live up to, but the last time Stony Brook and Boston U. tangled on the Martin Luther King holiday weekend (January 2009), the game went to four overtimes and the Terriers prevailed 99-97. Boston U.’s Jeff Pelage and Jake O’Brien, along with Stony Brook’s Bryan Dougher, Danny Carter, Tommy Brenton and Dallis Joyner were all freshmen - all six logged minutes in that epic. The Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan wrote a great column breaking down the “extra special” thriller at Case Gym.
Tip-off is at 12 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and you can catch all the action on ESPN3.