By: Matt Doherty
A hot start highlighted by a 26-9 lead went to waste for the Boston University Men’s Basketball team on Saturday afternoon at Case Gym as they dropped a tough 74-71 decision to Patriot League leading Bucknell.
The Bison saw themselves in a 17 point hole early in the ball game thanks to strong interior play from Terrier forwards Nick Havener (7 points, 12 rebounds) and Nathan Dieudonne (16 points, 11 rebounds) but Bucknell ended the first half on an 18-6 run to cut the lead to five at the break.
Both teams traded buckets in the second half with BU not able to pull away from the visitors. A Zach Thomas layup with a little over five minutes remaining gave Bucknell their first lead of the game at 59-58 after the Bison kept chipping away the whole half.
Bucknell converted a few more plays down the stretch by making their free throws and not turning the ball over. The Terriers had a few chances in the final minute to tie the game but Cheddi Mosely (12 points) missed a contested layup and John Papale’s three at the buzzer hit the front rim as Bucknell held on to improve to improve to 7-1 in league play.
“Defensively in the first half is how we have to play but we couldn’t sustain it in the second half. The combination of our turnovers in the second half and our foul shooting, and mix in our poor defensive plays and that really did us in, “ Coach Joe Jones said.
Jone’s frustration is alluded to the 19 Boston University turnovers including 11 in the second half as well as a 20-30 (66%) mark from the foul line.
However, the Bison deserve credit for battling back from a double digit deficit on the road and without their star player Chris Haas (18.7 PPG) who missed the game with a foot injury.
Sophomore guard Stephen Brown paced the Bison in Haas’ absence with a game high 21 points shooting 80% from the field. As a team Bucknell shot 50% from the field and a remarkable 66% in the second half.
“They are a really good team and they are going to make a run but they shot 66% in the second half which is unbelievable. I think we get too down on ourselves when they make a run or when we do something wrong.” Jones said.
The Terriers struggled with holding the lead contributing to 42% shooting in the second half as opposed to 54% in the first half.
At the end of the day though, Jones emphasized the loss on not making a few plays here and there whether it was shooting instead of making that one extra pass or vice versa and not making a few more free throws.
“It’s frustrating because that is a game we should have won. We have a good team, we have enough to win, and we have to find a way to consistently string along some wins. We just have to handle it better.” Jones said.
With the loss BU drops to 10-11 overall and 3-5 in Patriot League play. The Terriers will have a few days off before they travel to West Point to take on Army on Wednesday evening.