Sponsored by Steph Crandall
(West Hartford, CT) – America East team’s that don’t double Hartford forward Mark Nwakamma do so at their own peril, and any player forced to cover the 6’6” sophomore one-on-one should be afraid – very afraid.
Nwakamma shrugged off a foul-plagued first half to play a herculean second, pouring in 22 points while ripping down 12 rebounds to lead Hartford to a 66-58 win and season sweep over visiting Boston University. A one-man wrecking crew, Nwakamma single-handedly demolished the Terriers’ front line, hitting 9-of-15 shots in his second career double-double. The Leander, Texas, native added three assists, two steals and two monster rejections, while committing just two turnovers.
“He was terrific in the second half,” said Boston University head coach Joe Jones of Nwkamma, “he brought them home at the end.”
“Coach has confidence in me and I have confidence in myself: when I’m single covered to go right at them,” said Nwakamma.
Hartford shot 51.1 percent from the floor (23-of-45) and 43.8 percent from behind the arc (7-of-16), and held the Terriers to just 37.5 percent from the field (21-of-56) and 34.6 percent from three (9-of-26).
“We got great ball reversals, great post touches, I think 16 three’s is the perfect number of three’s for us to be taking,” said Hartford head coach John Gallagher. “I think we established physicality early. We are slowly becoming a physical team, which is exciting – very physical.”
Hartford won the rebounding battle 36-27, and in a heated and physical game that saw tempers flair and the benches empty after the final buzzer, thoroughly out-worked, out-fought and out-toughed the Terriers all night.
“They completely outplayed us in every facet of the game,” said Jones. “They executed at a higher level, they played harder, longer – they chased down loose balls.”
“I thought our guys, coming off an excruciating loss up eight the other night, we just showed our character,” said Gallagher, referencing Wednesday night’s home loss to Vermont, in which Hartford coughed up an eight point second half lead.
After spending their previous five games allergic to the low-blocks – bombing away bricks from behind the arc – Hartford outscored BU 30-24 in the paint. The Hawks also smothered the Terriers dribble-penetration – the lifeblood of their offense – turning Boston University into a jump shooting team.
Guard Wes Cole scored 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting in 15 minutes off the bench, reserve forward John Peterson added nine and guard Yolonzo Moore II chipped in eight for the Hawks, who had 10 different players log four or more minutes, with eight contributing in the scoring column. Reserve forward Oren Faulk added two blocks.
The Terriers were led by junior guard D.J. Irving, who scored 14 points but required 13 shots to do it, to go with eight rebounds and three assists. Travis Robinson added 11 points off the bench, shooting 4-of-6 from the floor and 3-of-5 from behind the arc. Freshman point guard Maurice Watson scored 10 points while dishing out four assists and freshman forward Nate Diuedonne added eight points and six rebounds off the bench. (more…)