By: Chris Lynch
On March 12, 2014, Boston University hosted the Patriot League Championship Game against American University. The Eagles controlled the pace of the game for most of it and stymied a talented Boston University.
Change the date to March 3, 2016, change the word championship to playoff, and there’s the story for today’s game. With a final score of 69-64, the American University Eagles ended the Terrier’s Patriot League season in defeat.
American came out with the energy and took control of the game early, taking a 9-3 lead within the first three minutes of the game. BU responded with some offense from John Papale, to take a 14-13 lead, and the rest of the first half was a close contest.
However, American closed out the half on a 10-2 run to take a 33-27 lead at the half. The second half was a half of runs by each team.
American took control of the first part of the second half, expanding their lead to 10 with about 10 minutes left in the game. When BU looked deflated, Eric Fanning exploded. He scored seven points in exactly a minute to cut the American lead to only 3.
That was as close as BU would get for the rest of the game.
American went on a 12-2 run over the next six and a half minutes while the Terriers had chances to score, but cost themselves, especially at the free throw line. BU did not shoot a single free throw in the first half, but did get to the free throw line 20 times in the second half. BU only hit nine of those 20 attempts, shooting only 45% from the free throw line.
American took another 10 point lead with just under three minutes to play, and BU mounted another attack but did not have enough to overcome the deficit. Eric Fanning finished with a game high 18 points and cut the deficit to only three again. Delante Jones, the Patriot League Rookie of the Year, hit two free throws to end the game and put the dagger in BU’s heart.
While Fanning finished with 18 points, only two other Terriers got into double digit points on the game. Cheddi Mosely got 12 and John Papale got 11 of his own.
Kyle Foreman and Nathan Dieudonne both played after missing a few games, and neither played at the top of their game. Foreman did not score and didn’t even attempt a shot in only eight minutes of play. He did get a team high three assists, but was not healthy enough to provide a big enough impact on the game.
Dieudonne didn’t start, but did contribute. He scored only five points and got a team high seven rebounds. Despite staying close, BU did not have enough to pull off a victory and the team was deflated after the game.
Coach Joe Jones said that the locker room after the game was as devastated as would be expected. He added that he was proud of the team for their resilience and how they responded to hard situations for the entire year while never feeling sorry for themselves.
When he was asked about trying to get ready for the potential postseason tournaments BU could get into, John Papale walked in. Coach answered the question by saying that he wasn’t thinking about the next tournament because he was not able to coach to John and Nate into the NCAA tournament once in their careers at BU.
BU will likely make it into one of the postseason tournaments, but the team is rightfully disappointed after a hard night against American. The team will wait until selection Sunday to see if their season will continue and against whom that next game would be.