By: Greg Levinsky
MAINE — Thanks to tremendous outside shooting from senior guard Will Goff, the Boston University Terriers men’s basketball team picked up its first win of the 2017-2018 campaign.
Goff nailed four first-half triples, co-leading with 13 points for the Terriers as they knocked off the University of Maine, 78-69, in Bangor’s Cross Insurance Center.
“He’s played any role that we’ve asked him to play,” said Boston University men’s basketball Head Coach Joe Jones. “He kept a great attitude and he’s what we’re all about. He’s got a great way about him; I’m happy for him.”
The Terriers (1-3) fell behind 9-2 early, plagued by four turnovers in as many minutes. Maine junior guard Aaron Calixte scored the game’s opening basket on a triple and added a traditional 3-point play early as a part of his game-high 22 points.
Two shots from Goff beyond the arc and one by classmate Cedric Hankerson (9 points) brought the Terriers back in a competitive first half.
Goff tacked on his third long ball with 9:16 remaining in the opening stanza, giving the Terriers their first lead at 20-19.
The lead changed hands three times in the first half, with the Terriers securing the last one when sophomore Tyler Scanlon went on his own 8-0 run. That offensive explosion supplied the spark for a 41-28 BU halftime lead.
“He’s tried to be there for us and I think he took a back seat offensively to help other guys get in the flow of the game,” Jones said. “He saw that we were struggling and really took it upon himself to help the team.”
Scanlon and Goff combined to go six-for-seven from beyond the arc in the first half, contributing a combined 13 points apiece by game’s end. Freshman guards Walter Whyte and Javante McCory also scored in double figures. Whyte netted 12, good for his first collegiate game in double digits and McCoy added 10 points.
Junior guard Cheddi Mosely and sophomore forward Destin Barnes missed their second consecutive games due to injuries. Barnes was seen with a sling on Sunday in Connecticut, while Mosely has a reported knee injury.
The absence of two of Jones’ top bench talents allowed Goff and fellow senior Eric Johnson to see extended minutes.
After playing just five minutes in the Terriers’ first two games, Johnson played 19 minutes on Wednesday. The guard also played 16 minutes at Connecticut on Sunday. The senior connected on 7-of-9 from the charity stripe as part of his season-high 9 points.
“In the preseason EJ was slowed with a back injury and he’s had to work his way through it,” Jones said. “He’s been involved in a lot of wins for us over the years, and EJ knows that if he does what we’re asking him to do he’s going to be in the rotation.”
Goff did not play in the Terrier season opener, but he finished with a pair of season highs with 25 minutes and 13 points on Wednesday.
Maine sophomore forward Andrew Fleming added 14 points and 6 rebounds for the Black Bears before fouling out. Junior guard Trae Bryant was the third Maine player to double figures with 11 points; he also dishes out a team-high four assists.
The Terriers shot 53.6 percent from the free-throw line, but hit 47.8 percent from beyond the arc.
“We’ll start making more [free throws],” Jones said. “We just gotta get there, and start working on it.”
BU returns home Sunday for their next tilt, a 4:00 p.m. tip-off with Division III Wheaton College at Case Gymnasium.
“It’s a time where you’ve got to out there focused, and stay committed to what you’re doing and who you are,” Jones said. “The goal in those games is seeing if you can go out and play your game mentally and physically being ready to compete in a game that people think you’re just going to show up and win. That will be the challenge of how we attack this game.”