By: Greg Levinsky
With the score tied between Boston University and New Hampshire with 25 seconds left in Wednesday’s game, Nick Havener rebounded his own miss on a 3-point attempt and converted an improbable reverse layup. UNH’s Tanner Leissner followed with a bucket to set up freshman Javante McCoy’s late heroics.
McCoy found himself at the charity stripe with 2.6 seconds left after getting fouled by Leissner on a drive to the bucket. He made one of two free throws to seal the Terriers’ 70-69 victory over the Wildcats.
“I thought we played hard tonight and we didn’t quit. We battled,” BU basketball Head Coach Joe Jones said. “We kept battling and made plays to win.”
Going into Wednesday night’s game with New Hampshire, Coach Jones stressed the importance of stopping the Wildcats size. Instead, the difference on Wednesday was the size of the Terriers. Leading the charge was sophomore forward Max Mahoney, who muscled his way through New Hampshire for a career-high 15 points.
“We’ve been on Max and we’ve been struggling with him,” Jones said. “We know Max is a good player and better than he’s played.
“Tonight he was terrific, and that’s how he is.”
Mahoney converted on 7-for-11 field-goal attempts and added a team-high six rebounds.
A 3-pointer by New Hampshire senior forward Tanner Leissner put the Terriers down 11-7 just over four minutes in. Standout efforts from senior guard Kamali Chambers and Mahoney aided an 18-5 surge to close the opening stanza. The duo caught fire at the end of the opening frame with five points apiece in BU’s push to a 38-26 halftime advantage.
In the first half, the Wildcats turned the ball over eight times en route to nine points off turnovers for the Terriers.
Freshman guard Andrew Petcash saw some valuable minutes down the stretch in the last eight minutes of regulation. Petcash played more than two minutes for the first time since BU’s 83-48 win over Wheaton on Sunday, netting a game-high 15 points. A back-door pass from senior forward Nick Havener to Petcash put him on the board for the first time against a Division I opponent. Petcash played six minutes.
“All 11 guys on this team deserve to play and we’re gonna play them,” Jones said. “I’m gonna find times to get these guys in, and the bench did a good job.
“Everybody that came on the floor did something positive for us to win this game.”
After converting a lay-up, Mahoney flashed his distributing prowess, finding senior guard Will Goff for a triple on a cross-court pass. Thunderous dunks by Leissner and Jacoby Armstrong kept New Hampshire hanging around in the second half, knotting up the contest at 67 with 2:19 to go.
“You knew they were going to come out with intensity, and they started taking control of the game right away,” Jones said.
Wildcat freshman guard John Hopkins scored a career-best 18 points, his first career double-digit outing against a Division I opponent. Leissner added a game-high 20 points and 7 rebounds on 7-of-12 shooting.
“[Iba] Camara, Armstrong and frickin’ Leissner, they’re as strong as a group as you’re going to come across,” Jones said. “They controlled it right away and we kept trying to respond.”
The Terriers struggled from the free-throw line once again, going just 8-for-21. BU is shooting just 52.7 percent for the season from the charity stripe.
“We’re a much better free throw shooting team than this,” Jones said. “There are some guys on the team that need to improve drastically, but we’re not as bad as it looks.”