By: Matt Doherty
In arguably their biggest game of the season to date, the Boston University men’s basketball delivered their biggest win as they throttled the preseason Patriot League favorite Lehigh Mountain Hawks by a score of 76-59 Monday night at Stabler Arena.
Following a slow start that saw them trailing 8-0 after five minutes of play, the Terriers scored 22 of the game’s next 25 points to take a stranglehold on the contest and blitzkrieg the Mountain Hawks on their own floor.
BU completely dominated the final 35 minutes of the game, especially on the defensive end, where they recorded 14 steals and forced 20 Lehigh turnovers. The Terriers zone defense and trapping gave an efficient Mountain Hawks offense problems all night.
Offensively, reigning PL Player of the Week, senior Eric Fanning, carried the torch scoring 27 points on 5-8 3FG.
In the first half, it was the second unit though who provided a big boost for the Terriers. Freshman Max Mahoney scored eight points in the opening 20 minutes, setting the tone on both ends of the court for the Terriers. Eric Johnson also provided a lift by knocking down a three-pointer. Johnson finished with five points and a career-high five steals in the game.
Leading by nine at halftime, BU continued their dominance into the second half. Numerous times, steals on their full-court press trapping defense led to easy layups on the other end by Fanning and senior Justin Alston.
Three consecutive three-pointers by Tyler Scanlon, Will Goff, and Fanning opened up a 55-38 lead and pretty much sealed the game. Overall, it was the Terriers most complete game that they have played all season, specifically on the defensive end where the team has been up and down seemingly all year.
For the second time in a row, BU did a marvelous job defending two-time Patriot League Player of the Year Tim Kempton, who scored 18 points and five rebounds but only attempted 12 shots and did not takeover the game like he usually does.
In the two match-ups this season, Kempton averaged 17 points and 7.5 rebounds which, while still great numbers, are below his season average of 21 and 10 respectively.
The Terriers certainly have the length and athleticism down low to slow down Kempton, whether that is from Justin Alston, Nick Havener, or Max Mahoney, the latter whom filled in admirably in the first half when Alston picked up two fouls.
BU has now knocked off the Mountain Hawks twice this season, which is quite the accomplishment. Once again, it was Joe Jones forcing someone other than Kempton to beat his team, and once again it was guards Kahron Ross and Austin Price struggling as they combined for only eight points.
The season continues to be an up and down barrage for Jones’ squad, who owns winning steaks of four and five games, but also losing streaks of three and five games.
The win over Lehigh is the second in a row for BU, and after struggling mightily to shoot the ball during their most recent three game losing streak, BU shot 9-23 3FG in the win on Monday.
However, it was the defensive effort that impressed the most, and showed that when this team plays up to their ability on that end of the court, they are hard to beat. The win also kept the Terriers tied for second place in the league standings with Navy. Both teams are sitting at 7-3 heading into Thursday night’s battle at Case Gym.
But for now, BU can enjoy this one, after blowing out the league favorite on their home gym.