By: Dave Souza
The Boston University Terriers held a four-point lead over Loyola Maryland in the Patriot League Quarterfinals when the Greyhounds inbounded the ball with precious seconds remaining on the clock. As Jarred Jones attempted to cut the deficit in the waning moments of the contest, senior Justin Alston swatted away his shot at the glass to seal the 64-60 victory and send the Terriers (18-13) into the conference semifinals.
“I thought the game was going to be a close game going down the stretch,” said head coach Joe Jones. “The game can turn that way on you if you don’t kind of blow them out…the game changes…and we’ve seen that a million times.”
The Terriers roared out of the gate, jumping out to an early 9-0 lead in the first three minutes. That dominance would continue throughout the first half as BU pushed their lead up to 15 at one point, never letting the Greyhounds (15-16) come within five points in the half.
Everything seemed to be going in the Terriers’ favor as they entered halftime sporting a 35-22 lead. However, Loyola Maryland would not go quietly, scoring 38 points in the second half, drawing near even with BU. A quarter of the Greyhounds points came off of 18 turnovers by the scarlet and white.
Loyola’s second half success was also a product of greater conversion, rather than capitalizing on BU mistakes. In the first half, the Greyhounds made just one of five shots from behind the three point line. However, Loyola turned it on in the second half, converting five of nine attempts beyond the arc.
The Greyhounds halftime adjustments also translated to a higher shooting percentage from the field in the game’s final 20 minutes. Knocking down seven of 22 shots in the first half, Loyola improved by roughly eight percent in the second, draining 11 of 28 attempts from the field.
“We just didn’t get to Kostecka and Walker,” Jones said of his team’s second half defense. “If we did a better job of guarding those guys and not letting them get threes off, I thought we would have done a solid job defensively.”
On the glass, the Greyhounds out-rebounded BU 34-28, with 13 of their boards coming on the offensive side of the ball. The Terriers were efficient in their own side of the court, collecting 21 rebounds, but managed just five offensively.
And while BU was sub-par on defense in the second half, a well-spread offense delivered them the win. All but one Terrier recorded at least a point in the contest, with sophomore guard Kyle Foreman leading the way with 12 points. A Clyde Hill, Wash. native, Foreman went five for seven from the field and collected his two other points at the line, where he pushed the BU lead to four in the game’s final minutes.
“Kyle was terrific,” complimented his head coach. “Down the stretch he got his hands on a couple of balls – he had a few turnovers – but I thought overall he played really really well tonight.”
Trailing shortly behind Foreman was Alston, who had 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Also collecting seven boards was junior Nick Havener, who Jones credited with having a great game following a stellar week in practice.
With the win, the Terriers will now advance to the Patriot League Semifinals, where they will host the Lehigh Mountain Hawks on Sunday. Lehigh is coming off of a 77-72 victory over Colgate and entered the season as the favorites to claim the conference title. BU will look to eliminate the Mountain Hawks after sweeping them in their regular season series. Tip-off is set for 12 p.m. at Case Gym.
“If we win this, we’re going to win this ugly,” Jones said of his team’s chances to win the league title. “We’ve got to be able to play through some bad possessions at times and some mistakes we make, but it’s going to be done ugly.”