By: Matt Doherty
Harvard University freshman Corey Johnson hit three three-pointers in the opening minutes as the Crimson opened up a 9-2 lead and never looked back on their way to a 75-69 win over Boston University on Tuesday night at Case Gym.
Tommy Amaker’s club ended a three-game losing streak while picking up their third win of the season. Meanwhile, the Terriers dropped consecutive contests for the first time this season, falling to 3-5.
Last time out against UMass, junior Cedric Hankerson made his anticipated return from a torn ACL scoring 10 points in 12 minutes but Hankerson re-injured himself this week at practice and will now miss even more time. On top of that, senior forward Nathan Dieudonne did not play leaving Joe Jones’s squad even more shorthanded.
“We’ve had a lot of guys in and out so our flow wasn’t great. I’m frustrated for my guys because we haven’t been able to get a continuity with the guys on the floor.” Jones said.
One player who did return to full form was Eric Fanning who provided an energetic 20 minutes off the bench scoring 19 points in the process in his first full game back from suspension.
“I thought Eric played with a lot of energy, he made a lot of effort plays. I thought he played very unselfishly and he had two feet in, he was trying to win the game. He was one of the positives.” Jones said.
Joining Fanning with solid play was sophomore forward Nick Havener. Making his first ever collegiate start, Havener had a career high 18 points and 11 rebounds dominating the game from the interior.
Going into halftime with a 14 point deficit, the sophomore from Sarasota, Florida dug into the Crimson lead by scoring six of the first eight second half points capitalized by a dunk to make it a single digit game.
Both teams went back and forth in the last ten minutes with the Terriers closing the gap to three until Johnson hit a corner three at the shot clock buzzer to seal the win for Harvard with under a minute remaining.
A key facet to the loss for BU was a 4-17 three-point shooting night along with 14 turnovers.
“We were very sloppy, we were very tentative. They did a good job chasing John and Cheddi and making it difficult on dribble handoffs. We got open shots where we didn’t make them but we need production out of those two on a consistent basis.” Jones said.
The two sharp shooters, John Papale and Cheddi Mosely struggled once again from beyond the arc, going just a combined 2-11 for the second game in a row.
In the end, the Terriers simply could not pull of the comeback after the 17 point deficit they found themselves in late in the first half, despite a strong second half.
“I think you have to take what you can from each game. We won the second half but we need guys to step up. We can’t make excuses, we have to step up with the guys on floor and keep going.” Jones said.
BU will have to rebound quickly as they head up I-93 on Thursday to take on another in-state rival in the UMass-Lowell Riverhawks. Tip off from the Tsongas Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m.