Men’s Basketball: Newark Marks the End of the Year

By: Chris Lynch

The Boston University Terriers basketball season came to an end on Monday night as the New Jersey Institute of Technology Highlanders knocked off the Terriers in the Tournament by a final of 83-72.

BU traveled to Newark to take on the NJIT on Monday night. This was the Terriers’ second trip there this season. Back in November, NJIT won a high scoring affair over the Terriers, with a 90-76 final on November 19th. With the added pressure of the second round of the Tournament, BU returned to Newark looking to extend their season.

Instead, the NJIT Highlanders controlled the first half of play from start to finish. Damon Lynn, the nations leader in three point attempts, torched the Terriers early for 16 first half points and Tim Coleman added 11 to lead a blistering attack.

To make matters worse for BU, they couldn’t hit many shots. BU scored only 20 points in the first half, their lowest total in a half this season. BU only shot 30.8% from the field and 14.3% from three point range in the first half.

BU did pick up their offense in the second half. The Terriers scored 52 points in the second half, and saw several players perform extremely well.

Sophomore Nick Havener scored 11 points and got 9 rebounds, one shy of what would have been his fourth double double of the season. Cheddi Mosely caught fire in the second half, scoring 15 points on the game.

And in his final game of his career, John Papale scored 19 points, and broke Corey Lowe’s record of most three pointers in a single season. John ended with 95 on the season. He tied the record for most games played as a Terrier, matching John Holland’s 129 appearances in scarlet and white.

However, these strong performances could not counteract the problems that BU faced. Senior Nathan Dieudonne also ended his career, but did not go out with a bang, the way Papale did. Dieudonne only got 5 points and 2 rebounds.

All Conference star Eric Fanning was neutralized by the NJIT defense. He only scored 8 points, got just 3 rebounds, almost fouled out of the game, got a technical foul, and played only 18 minutes of the game because of his foul troubles. Kyle Foreman, while dressed for the game, did not play at all.

NJIT did not surrender their lead. Damon Lynn kept his hot shooting going, ending with a game high 31 points. Tim Coleman added 20 points and a game high 9 rebounds to give the Highlanders control of the game. Throw in Ky Howard’s 12 points and Rob Ukawuba’s 14 points off the bench, and BU simply could not match the Highlanders.

BU cut the lead from 24 points early in the second half down to 10 points, but never got closer than that in the game. The teams traded points for the last few minutes of the game, and NJIT finished off the Teriers for the 2015-2016 season with an 83-72 victory. NJIT will move on to the quarterfinal of the CIT to play the University of Texas at Arlington on Thursday night.

BU’s final record was 19-15. They had a tumultuous year, filled with close games, blowouts, injuries, amazing memories, and enough stories to fill a lifetime. BU didn’t win the conference or a postseason tournament, but they enjoyed the most entertaining and unpredictable season in years. BU used 15 different starting lineups throughout the season due to injuries, and somehow scraped a postseason appearance from it.

Seniors John Papale and Nathan Dieudonne led the way all year long. Papale set shooting and minutes records while quietly providing stability and a consistent hand for Coach Jones to call upon. Dieudonne set the tone on the defensive side and on the glass, highlighted by a 17 point, 18 rebound game against Army to start a 7 game winning streak.

But some veteran players couldn’t be there. Cedric Hankerson, season’s leading scorer, played only 12 minutes of a blowout loss to UMass-Amherst. Justin Alston broke his foot against Harvard and missed the final 26 games of the season. Both of them got medical redshirts and will return next year.

Guards Cheddi Mosely and Kyle Foreman fought through injuries all season and saw success throughout. Cheddi got his first double double and showed his shooting and scoring ability throughout the year. Foreman earned a spot on the All-Patriot League Rookie team and led BU in assists from the point guard spot. Eric Johnson proved capable of taking the responsibilities of running the point and knocked down some big shots throughout the year.

BU’s two seven footers, Blaise Mbargorba and Dylan Haines both showed tremendous maturity throughout the season, blocking opponents’ shots while hitting some big baskets of their own. The duo gave BU lifts throughout the year. Nick Havener also had stretches where he took over games with his energy and rebounding ability.

But perhaps the greatest maturing happened with Eric Fanning. He started he season suspended, then came back and led the team in scoring and earned a spot on the All Patriot League First team. He proved an aggressive player capable of controlling and winning games for the Terriers on his own.

John Papale and Nate Dieudonne ended their illustrious BU careers and will now move to the professional world. Everyone else will have a few months to get healthy and rested for what will hopefully be a special 2016-2017 year on Commonwealth Avenue.

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