By: Matthew Doherty
BOSTON — In their 97-year series history, Boston University and Northeastern University basketball never fail to entertain. On Friday night at Case Gym, the cross-town rivalry delivered another back-and-forth nail-bitter with the visiting Huskies knocking off BU 65-59 in both team’s season opener.
Freshman forward Tomas Murphy led the way for Northeastern, scoring 15 points and grabbing six rebounds while Anthony Green added 10 points. With the victory, the Huskies have now won their opener over BU for the fourth consecutive year.
“I was proud of our effort,” Terrier Head Coach Joe Jones said. “We competed and did some good things. We turned them over 18 times and held them to 41 percent shooting. But there were things in our control and we have to be able to make those plays.”
BU shot 40 percent from the floor, 29 percent from three-point range and 50 percent at the free throw line.
Since last year, the Terriers have lost seniors Eric Fanning and Justin Alston – who combined for 27 points per game – and point guard Kyle Foreman, who decided not to play this fall. On top of that, BU dealt with numerous injuries throughout the preseason, preventing them from practicing at full strength.
“I think it showed offensively,” Jones said. “We have to play more together. There’s no flow. We’re not there right now. We’ll get there.”
Jones started two freshman in point guard Javante McCoy and guard Walter Whyte. McCoy scored seven points and added three assists, whie Whyte netted nine points on 4 of 6 shooting.
A trio of returners had double-digit points as senior guard Cheddi Mosely led the team with 12 points. Sophomore Max Mahoney totaled 11 while senior Cedric Hankerson added 10 points of his own.
Hankerson, who averaged 16 points per game as a sophomore but struggled last year as he recovered from a torn ACL, looked like his old rejuvenated self. In the first half, he soared to the basket for two easy layups and helped the Terriers take an early eight-point lead.
Northeastern dominated the final ten minutes of the first half thanks to strong interior play by Green and Murphy, who combined for 14 points to give the Huskies a 35-26 halftime lead.
Mahoney and senior forward Nick Havener helped march the comeback in the second half when the two rattled off ten straight points to cut the Northeastern lead to four. However, both Havener and Mahoney picked up their fourth fouls shortly after, sending them to the bench.
A Cheddi Mosely three-pointer made it 57-53 Northeastern with under two minutes remaining, but four straight free throws and a missed shot by BU put the game away.
“We got in foul trouble and that hurt us a lot,” Jones said. “Especially our older guys like Nick and Cedric.”
The offensive void left by Fanning and Alston was certainly felt as the Terriers only scored 59 points or fewer thrice last season.
Reigning Patriot League All-Rookie member Tyler Scanlon did not score a point in 30 minutes of play and the usual fast-pace team scored just two fast-break points. Jones noted after the game that his team will get better, especially on the offensive end.
Up Next: BU will be back in action Monday Nov. 13 when last year’s America East runner-up Albany comes to Case Gym. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.