By: Dave Souza
After storming back to beat rival Northeastern on Friday night and then crushing the University of Maine on Saturday, the Boston University Terriers continued their hot streak by blowing past the Long Island University Blackbirds 86-69 in BU’s last leg of the Steve Wright Classic.
“I’m really proud of the team,” said coach Joe Jones. “It was a real tough weekend, we played three games in three days. We played our arch-rival on Friday night and obviously that was an emotional win. . .and today – playing against a real good team in LIU that’s really physical, [and] played very hard – to come back and play the way we did, I think it says a lot about not only the depth of this team, but the quality of depth.”
The Terriers (3-1) came out of the gate hot as they opened up a 13-4 lead in the game’s opening minutes. LIU (3-1) managed to tie the score just once in the contest – at 2-2 – as BU’s offense exploded and their defense tightened up.
Leading the charge for the Terriers on offense was junior guard Cedric Hankerson, who led both teams in scoring with 19. Hankerson’s best stretch came five minutes into the second half, when the Miami, Florida native hit five consecutive three-pointers – each seemingly coming farther and farther beyond the arc. The contest was Hankerson’s best in over two years, as he missed almost all of last season with an injury suffered in his first game of the year.
“Friday night, I was so happy for him because he came into the game and he was balling, he had great energy and he was driving the ball” Jones said. “That set the table for the weekend. I thought he played with great energy all weekend long, he looked very strong out there.”
Hankerson wasn’t the only one to have a noteworthy night on offense for BU as 10 Terriers recorded points in the 17-point victory. Eric Fanning, Cheddi Mosely, and Nick Havener all recorded 13-point nights as BU starters accounted for 50 of the team’s 86 points.
Havener was a monster on both sides of the ball on Sunday as the six-foot-eight junior collected 12 rebounds to earn his fifth career double-double.
“The biggest thing was just getting to the glass,” recounted Havener. “Everyone did that pretty well. As long as everyone’s crashing I have the opportunity to go and snag it.”
While coach Jones harped on his team’s need to continue to sharpen defensively, the Terriers showed an improvement on stopping opposing offenses with their stifling of the Blackbirds. With Havener leading the way with two blocks and a pair of steals, BU capitalized off of LIU mistakes and made the visitors pay as the Terriers scored 15 points off of turnovers.
Freshman Tyler Scanlon also played a large role in BU’s win on Sunday, as the 6’7″ forward collected six of his eight rebounds on defense. The boards were the most Scanlon has amassed in his young career on Comm. Ave. and surpassed his previous high of five against Northeastern on Friday night.
“Just watching him in high school, it doesn’t surprise me what he’s doing,” said Jones of the 18-year old Scanlon. “Tyler gives us a guy on the outside as a forward that can really shoot the ball. He’s a good passer, his skill set is very good, and that’s been the big thing: he’s struggled at rebounding. This weekend he did a really good job, I think a big thing was him getting used to the physicality and the speed of the game at this level, and now he’s starting to get used to it.”
With the win the Terriers have won three straight and are rolling into their Tuesday afternoon contest with Western New England University. That game is set to tip off at 12 p.m. at Case Gym as BU looks to win four in a row for the first time since February of last season.