By: Greg Levinsky
In a Sunday matinee, the Boston University men’s basketball team hosts Elon University at Case Gymnasium for the first ever matchup between the Terriers and the Phoenix.
Terrier sophomore forward Max Mahoney eclipsed a plethora of career highs once again for the Terriers (4-5) in a 87-82 loss at the University of Massachusettes Lowell.
Mahoney recorded 29 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks in 29 minutes . The six-foot-eight Basking Ridge, N.J. native is now averaging 11.9 points per contest to go along with over a block and a team-high 5.1 rebounds per game.
“I was just trying to do what I could do, control what I could control,” Mahoney said after the game in Lowell. “I tried to do the most of with touches as well as spread the ball around. Defensively, just trying to alter shots as much as I could.”
Head Coach Joe Jones said Mahoney was sick throughout the first month of the season and struggled physically. Now that he is healthy, Jones said Mahoney is playing up to his potential.
“We got him checked out and he had some type of virus, he just wasn’t himself.” Jones said. “Now he’s playing like he’s capable of playing and our guys are doing a good job of getting him the ball.”
Thanks to scoring at least 12 points in each of the Terriers last four games, Mahoney has suddenly become a dynamic two-way threat.
“A lot of guys are getting the different looks we want to get,” Mahoney said.
The Phoenix (6-4) returned all five of their starters from a team which achieved an 18-14 record last season. The Phoenix shoot 31 triples per game, but have converted on just 17 of their last 90 (18.9 percent) from beyond the arc.
Elon’s last game was 10 days ago, a 75-44 shellacking at the hands of University of North Carolina at Greensboro, snapping a three-game winning streak, two of which went into overtime.
Junior guard Dainan Swoope leads the Phoenix at 15.7 points-per-game. Redshirt senior Brian Dawkins averages 12.8 points and a team-high 6.4 rebounds per contest. Junior forward Tyler Seibring rounds out Elon’s double-figure scoring trio at 11.8 points-per-game.
Senior guard Cedric Hankerson leads the way for BU at 12.7 points-per-game. Senior forward Nick Havener is also scoring in double digits at 10 points per contest.
Hankerson has scored in double figures in the last four games and has not scored below eight points all year. Jones hinted the Terriers will continue to ride his consistent scoring all year long. He also said his numbers may improve throughout the season.
“I think Ced’s fine ,” Jones said. “We had to change our offense, and I think he’s getting more comfortable with how we’re playing. I don’t have any complaints about him, and I think he’s going to get better as the year goes on.”
BU continues to struggle from the charity stripe after shooting 4-of-9 in the loss at Lowell. The Terriers rank dead last in NCAA Division I at 53.8 percent from the free throw line.
Freshmen Javante McCoy and Walter Whyte have both started as the Terrier back court in all nine games.
BU has seceded 87 points in each of its last two games. Jones and Mahoney both said the team must find their defensive stride.
“It’s definitely something we have to fix, we’ll work on figuring it out,” Mahoney said.
Jones echoed Mahoney’s message, articulating the team’s need for younger players to step up on the defensive end.
“I think lately, honestly, we haven’t defended well,” Jones said. “I feel like right now we are struggling defensively and we have to figure it out.
“I’m looking for the young guys to step it up defensively.”