The Boston University men’s basketball team suffered a 87-77 defeat to the hands of the Canisius College Griffins Wednesday night at Case Gym.
The Terriers (4-5) showed promise on their most recent three-game road trip, losing close defeats to power five programs Connecticut and North Carolina State.
Returning home to face a 3-5 team from the MAAC, it was expected that the Joe Jones’ squad would roll to a win, but that wasn’t the case.
“People might look at it and be like they played Connecticut well, they played NC State well, they should just steamroll Canisius, but that’s not how it works,” Jones said. “It’s all about match-ups.”
Jones mentioned how the Huskies and Wolfpack were built differently than the Griffins. Canisius offered skilled wing players that gave the Terriers fits all night long.
Leading the way for the visitors was guard Kassius Robertson who scored 19 points including a 5-8 mark from behind the arc. Isaiah Reese and Jermaine Crumpton were right behind him scoring 16 points apiece in the winning effort.
Jones credited the Griffins offensive attack, saying his team wasn’t ready defensively and that if Canisius was in the Patriot League they’d be one of the top teams.
“They’re a good team, they have a lot of weapons, they’re well coached, and they can hurt you a lot of different ways,” Jones said. “I knew coming into the game that if we weren’t ready defensively they were going to hurt us.”
Canisius built a commanding 48-35 halftime lead as they knocked down 7 first-half three pointers and grabbed 8 offensive rebounds.
After stretching the lead to 16 in the opening minutes after the second half, the Terriers went on a 22-8 run to cut the deficit to two.
“I thought we settled in,” Jones said. “Collectively we were able to make a nice run but we couldn’t get ourselves over the hump. We just didn’t make enough plays.”
Hankerson led the second half charge scoring 13 second half points. In all, Hankerson netted a team high 18 points going 5-8 3FG.
With the Terriers trailing 65-63, Canisius went on 22-14 run to close out the game. Robertson and senior Kiefer Douse made key baskets down the stretch highlighted by a backdoor slam by Douse to put the nail in the coffin.
Forwards Nick Havener and Justin Alston both finished with 12 point serving as the only Terriers outside of Hankerson in double digits.
It was another frustrating evening for senior Eric Fanning who scored 5 points on 1-6 shooting in just 14 minutes.
Fanning received a technical foul in the NC State game with eight minutes remaining and did not go back in. Wednesday, Fanning started on the bench in both halves while playing only 4 minutes in the second half.
Jones said Fanning’s lack of playing time was a matter of not coming ready to play.
“We’ve got to be ready to go everyday,” Jones said. “If you’re not ready to go and you’re not doing the things we need you to do, we’re moving on to the next guy.”
Junior guard Will Goff started in Fanning’s place. Goff played only one minute combined in the previous three games but earned six minutes of action Wednesday.
The 87 points was the most allowed by BU this season, as they simply had no answer on the defensive end.
It’s back to the drawing board as they prepare for another difficult test on the road against Syracuse on Saturday.
“We’re playing really good teams and we just need to beat some of them,” Jones said. “We have to be more focused and ready.”
Jones said he hopes his team will be able to learn from a tough loss like this one and get better.
“What are we going to take from these games?” Jones said. “What is going to help us in January, that’s what the season is about.”
“If we learn and we grow, we have a very good team.”