By: Matt Doherty
After splitting their two-game Florida trip, the Boston University men’s basketball team will conclude their four-game road swing with a matchup at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell on Wednesday evening.
The Terriers rebounded from a loss at No. 6 Miami with a thrilling 90-87 victory against Bethune-Cookman Friday night. thanks to a game-winning 3-pointer by senior guard Eric Johnson. That win evened up BU’s record at 4-4 on the young season. The Terriers have lost all four games to quality opponents and have come out on top against team’s they were expected to beat.
With guards Cheddi Mosely and Destin Barnes sidelined with injuries, BU has relied on its depth to win their games. The Terriers have had 11 players reach double figures in scoring, which is tied for the third most in all of Division 1.
Senior guard Cedric Hankerson leads the team in scoring with 11.8 points-per-game and classmate Nick Havener is right behind him with 10.6 ppg. Sophomore Max Mahoney scored a career-high 16 points in the Bethune-Cookman, and has provided a spark off the bench scoring in double figures his last three games. BU has used multiple scoring options and a deep rotation to grind out victories as of late.
The Riverhawks, in just their fifth year as a Division I program, began the season with a 5-1 record but have since dropped four consecutive games. However, three of those losses came away from the Tsongas Center, where they are 4-1 on the season. Their last win came on November 26 against Patriot League member Loyola Maryland, 83-75.
Redshirt senior guard Jahad Thomas leads UMass Lowell in scoring (19.3 ppg) and rebounding (10.0). Thomas is a very unique player. He stands at six-foot-two, but has averaged just under eight rebounds per game in his collegiate career. The Williamsport, Pa. native also rarely attempts 3-pointers. He’s taken just 32 total 3-point attempts in 89 career games.
Thomas thrives attacking the basket and finishing at the rim. Last year, in Lowell’s 77-75 win over BU, he scored 20 points and snatched 11 rebounds on top of hitting the game-winning layup with eight seconds left. Similar to Bethune-Cookman, UML is a fast-paced team. Outside of Thomas, they love to shoot the three-ball and score in bunches.
Head Coach Pat Duquette plays a small ball lineup with four guards six-foot-four or under and a six-foor-seven forward.
For one of the few games this season, the Terriers will have an advantage in the paint with forwards Nick Havener and Max Mahoney, who will be key on Wednesday night. It will be important for BU to use its advantage on the wings as well. Cedric Hankerson (six-foot-five), Walter Whyte (six-foot-six), Tyler Scanlon (six-foot-seven) and Javante McCoy (six-foot-five) will need to use their size and length to attack the basket and shoot over the top of the smaller UML defenders.
Tip-off from Tsongas is scheduled for 5 p.m. The game can be seen live on ESPN3.