By: Chris Lynch
Returning to Case for their first home game since playing Harvard early in December, BU found themselves in their hardest contest of the season. With four players missing the game with injury, two of them out for the season, and two Terriers fouling out, BU was locked in a close game with the University of New Hampshire Wildcats. Ultimately, BU made one more defensive stop than UNH did, and emerged victorious, 78-74.
With the victory, BU evens their record at 6-6 in their non-conference schedule, and showed that they can win a tight game and hold a lead for much of the game.
BU played a sloppy first half, topped by ten turnovers in the first half. They did take the lead into the half, going up 39-36.
When the second half got underway, both teams got more into the game, and played even more desperately. BU rode the offensive performances of the game’s high scorer, Eric Fanning, who got 18 points and three rebounds on the night.
John Papale and Kyle Foreman also got double digit points, scoring 15 and 13 points respectively. The starters were also backed up by a strong bench performance, with the Terrier bench out scoring the Wildcat bench 37-26 in the game.
UNH answered with a balanced attack, and by out rebounding BU by seven on the game. Five different Wildcats scored in double digits, with Ronnel Jordan’s 16 leading the way. Daniel Dion added 13, Jaleen Strong and Jacoby Armstrong added 11 each, and Tanner Leissner scored 10. T
he other top performer was Iba Camera, who almost notched a double double with 8 points and 10 rebounds.
The defining story of the game was the foul game. The teams combined for 48 fouls and shot a combined 58 free throws. BU ran into trouble late when the entire front court got into foul trouble. Nick Havener and Nathan Dieudonne both fouled out, and Dylan Haines and Blaise Mbargorba both got four fouls. With the front court in foul trouble, UNH cut a double digit lead down to as close as two points with only 57 seconds left. They took 26 free throws in the second half , and didn’t quite tie the game.
BU’s defense showed maturity and improved skill that has resulted from experience. Blaise Mbargorba only scored 6 points, but he blocked 4 shots, providing low post defense that kept UNH off the board in key situations.
The other example of great defense was on UNH’s last possession of the game. With the shot clock turned off, Daniel Dion held the ball and was looking for a three pointer trying to tie the game. Eric Fanning showed his growth by playing excellent defense. He did not go for a pump fake, put a hand in Dion’s face, and caused the shot to miss it’s mark. The ball fell to Dylan Haines, who split a pair of free throws to put the game out of reach, and BU secured their fourth win over four America East opponents in 2015-16.
Coach Joe Jones raved about his team’s physical endurance and improved second half. He also remarked that the defense has improved well, holding the last four opponents to under 40% from the field, and keeping the team in close games with a depleted roster. He also explained that he wants them to look at the non conference schedule as a chance to learn how to play better when prepping for Patriot League play next week.
BU will play Kean University on the 28th at home in their next game before conference play begins with a road trip to Holy Cross on the 30th.