Matt Griffin and his Terriers teammates paid special attention to Thursday night’s game between Connecticut and Harvard, in which the No. 9 Huskies beat the No. 24 Crimson 67-53 in Storrs, Conn.
And not just because it may just have been the most important -- or at least the highest profile -- game between New England schools in the 2011-12 season. Consider it homework, of sorts.
The Terriers host the Crimson on Saturday at 4 p.m. (NESN) in Agganis Arena.
“Obviously Harvard’s having a great season and has a great program,” Griffin said by phone before practice Thursday. “They beat us pretty handily last year, so we know they’re a good team.”
Harvard beat BU 87-71 at Lavietes Pavilion on the same weekend a year ago.
“They shared the ball extremely well,” Griffin, a senior captain for BU, said of the teams’ previous meeting. “Their offense was run very crisply. In the second half, they had us chasing them around the court. They did a great job controlling the tempo.
“They have guys at every position that can make plays, so that makes them very difficult to defend.”
And while the Terriers lost John Holland, the team’s top scorer and the second-leading scorer in school history, and coach Patrick Chambers after last season, the Crimson returned every player from 2010-11. The early results reflect the chemistry challenges each team has faced. BU is 4-5, having dropped a close game at St. Joe’s on Wednesday night, while Harvard is 8-1 and has an early-season tourney title on its résumé.
“I think they’re pretty solid across the board,” Griffin said of the Crimson. “They have really good size, they shoot the ball extremely well and they’ve very well coached. It’s gonna be a good challenge, but every game on our schedule’s a challenge.”
Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said the loss will test the Crimson.
“Our kids have been able to handle things thus far in a very admirable way,” Amaker said, referring to the attention the Crimson have received for their play early in the season. “We’ll see now, after our first loss. We’re gonna have to regroup and respond and we have a tough game and a quick turnaround at BU.”
To come out on top in Saturday’s challenge, Griffin said the Terriers have to stay disciplined and stick to their principles.
“We’ve gotta come up with toughness plays,” he said. “I think we have to play very good definitely, rebound the ball especially well and we have to limit their runs. So when they make a run we have to be able to withstand that and be able to respond and answer their run.”