By: Matt Doherty
The Boston University men’s basketball team closed out its 2016-2017 regular season in thrilling fashion, with a 71-68 overtime victory against the Holy Cross Crusaders on Saturday afternoon in Worcester.
Trailing by nine at halftime, the Terriers (17-13, 12-6 PL) completed an impressive comeback to pull out their gutsiest and arguably best win of the season to date.
Freshman Tyler Scanlon scored a career-high 19 points (5-8 3FG) and won Turnpike Trophy MVP honors while senior Justin Alston recorded a double-double (11 pts, 10 reb) in his final Patriot League regular season game.
On Senior night, the Crusaders (15-16, 9-9 PL) came out firing and playing with high energy in front of a packed house. Senior Robert Champion scored 16 first-half points on 6-12 FG to lead the charge.
Holy Cross led by nine at the break but then the Terriers turned the corner. BU started the second half on 27-9 run thanks to their full-court press creating steals and a hot-stretch from behind the arc.
The first 10 minutes of the second was as good of a stretch as BU has played all season long with high effort on both ends of the court.
The Crusaders made a run to cut into the BU deficit and the two teams spent the last minutes of regulation going back and forth. However, neither team was able to execute offensively down the stretch and a scoring drought in the final 2:40 sent the game to overtime.
In OT, Scanlon scored the first five points highlighted by a deep three-pointer to give BU a two-point that they would never relinquish. Hankerson knocked down a three moments later to give BU a five-point advantage.
Eric Fanning missed the front end of a one-in-one to ice the game and then Holy Cross’ Patrick Benzan made a layup with 11 seconds left to make it a one-point game. Fanning, who picked up two fouls in the first three minutes of the game, scored 13 points in 29 minutes but it was the shot-making ability of Scanlon and Hankerson that shined the most.
But Alston knocked down two huge free throws to extend the lead to three and Anthony Thompson’s three-point attempt at the buzzer was no good giving BU the dramatic win.
Hankerson, who has been struggling offensively for the majority of the season, scored 14 points on 4-10 3FG and showed off his offensive potential that garnered him an All-Patriot League spot in 2015. Hankerson showed why he is the x-factor of this team going forward in the league tournament.
The win was huge for the Terriers because they secured the two-seed, as they owned a tie-breaker over the Lehigh Mountain Hawks.
The Terriers will receive a first-round bye and host the quarterfinals on Thursday night at Case Gym. They will play the winner of #7 Loyola and #10 Lafayette, who play Tuesday night in Baltimore.
Because BU won Saturday, they also are guaranteed a semi-final home game next Sunday, if they were to win in the quarterfinal round.
Here is a look at the final PL Regular Season Standings (via patriotleague.org) and as well as the playoff match-ups. Check back to WTBU Sports on Tuesday for a complete Patriot League Tournament Preview.
|Army West Point||6-12||12-18|
First Round: Tuesday
#10 Lafayette vs. #7 Loyola Maryland
#9 American vs. #8 Army
#6 Colgate vs. #3 Lehigh
#5 Holy Cross vs. #4 Navy
Highest remaining seed vs. #1 Bucknell
Lowest remaining seed vs. #2 Boston University