By: Matt Doherty
Cedric Hankerson’s driving go-ahead layup with four seconds left gave the Boston University Terriers a 65-63 victory over cross-town rival Northeastern, earning their first win of the 2016-2017 season on Friday night.
The Terriers (2-1) knocked off the visiting Huskies (2-2) at Case Gym in the first game off the Steve Wright Classic, just a week after the Huskies beat them 87-77 at Matthews Arena.
BU rode the shoulders of Eric Fanning (17 points) and Hankerson (13 points) while limiting Northeastern standouts TJ Williams and Alex Murphy to a combined 37 points.
Last week, Williams and Murphy combined for 50 points in the win, with 30 of those coming from Williams himself. This time around, Joe Jones emphasized slowing down Williams.
“I thought the guys did a good job of listening to the adjustments we were trying to do defensively,” Jones said.
“We wanted to keep the ball out of Williams’ hands, try to blitz him, deny the ball, and let other guys make plays.”
Jones tactics worked as Northeastern shot just 37% in the first half. However, a 35% mark from 3-point range in the first half kept the Huskies in the game.
The Terriers handled the Northeastern defense much better this time around as they scored 39 first half points. Freshman Tyler Scanlon and Destin Barnes made 3 three pointers while Fanning and Hankerson combined for 18 points in the opening 20 minutes.
In an exhilarating sequence Hankerson made a layup and got fouled. After missing the free throw, Fanning collected the offensive rebound and completed a three point play. The mini 5-0 spurt gave the Terriers a 37-27 lead.
Northeastern used the three-point shot though to cut the halftime deficit to 39-33.
The Huskies carried their momentum into the second half completely dominating the second frame. Northeastern went on a 24-6 run in the first 11 minutes of the half opening up a 57-45 lead.
The Terriers went 9 minutes without recording a field goal highlighted by missed jump shots, ugly turnovers, and poor possessions. Suddenly, the game shifted in Northeastern’s favor.
“I thought we came out unsure and passive,” Jones said. “We weren’t in a good rhythm.”
Down 59-50 with under 6 minutes to go the Terriers began chipping away at the Northeastern lead. A Nick Havener (4 points, 7 rebounds) turnaround jumper cut the lead to five with 4:30 remaining.
After a pair of TJ Williams free throws, Havener tipped in a missed layup, and then Fanning made a tough layup to make it a one possession game.
The Terriers found themselves down 62-59 with 50 seconds left following a defensive stop.
That was when Fanning found sharp-shooter Cheddi Mosely open in the corner. Fanning delivered a pass to Mosely who rose up and nailed a three pointer while also getting fouled on the shot.
Mosely made the free throw, completing the four point play and sending Case Gym into a frenzy.
With the Terriers up a point, Williams was fouled on the ensuing possession. The senior split a pair from the line with 28 seconds left setting up an opportunity for the Terriers to win it in regulation.
Kyle Foreman dribbled the ball up and brought the clock down to under 10 seconds. Hankerson then came to the top of the key and received a dribble handoff from Foreman. Hankerson found a lane off a screen and drove to the basket, making a contested layup with 4.6 seconds left.
Williams then raced down the court but his shot at the buzzer was blocked by Havener giving the Terriers a dramatic 65-63 victory.
Hankerson, who missed all of last year recovering from a torn ACL, struggled mightily in the season opener at Northeastern.
While his jumper was cold again tonight, he was able to attack the basket and get to the free throw line. Hankerson made just three field goals all night but his third and final one proved to be the difference.
“We have guys we can go to and that’s what makes the team good… Ced was able to come off a ball-screen and make the shot,” Jones said.
The Terriers rebounded from an opening night loss to a talented Northeastern team and rallied from a second half double digit deficit to earn a hard fought victory.
The Terriers knocked off Maine on Saturday, 102-78. Northeastern, meanwhile, fell 78-74 against LIU-Brooklyn.
The Terriers take on LIU-Brooklyn Sunday while Maine and Northeastern will do battle on day three of the Steve Wright Classic.
- The Terriers held Northeastern to 40% shooting after allowing 55% last game
- Tyler Scanlon scored 8 points and grabbed 5 rebounds in 17 minutes
- Blaise Mbargorba played 8 minutes and Dylan Haines played 4, after neither senior seven footer played in the season opener
- With 4 games in 5 days, the Terriers will need fresh legs for minutes down the road
- Northeastern’s Alex Murphy went just 6-13 from the free throw line