By: Liam O’Brien
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The second half has been a sore spot for the Boston University men’s basketball team this season, and Thursday night was no different.
The Terriers were outscored 38-29 in the second half after heading into the halftime break down just two points, suffering a 74-63 loss to Harvard University to finish the non-conference slate with a 4-7 record.
“In the second half we just didn’t run good offense,” BU Head Coach Joe Jones said. “We struggled.”
Despite being without leading scorer Bryce Aiken, Harvard rode a balanced effort to improve to 5-6 on the year. Weisner Perez led the squad with 12 points and seven rebounds, while Seth Towns equaled his scoring output along with four rebounds of his own.
Max Mahoney continued his strong season with 16 points and five rebounds, while Javante McCoy scored 15, and Tyler Scanlon recorded 11 points for the Terriers. However, it was not enough to overcome Harvard’s 55 percent shooting from the field and 45 percent conversion from long range.
“We have not found the solution to be able to guard people,” Jones said.
Although they turned the rock over 19 times leading to 24 BU points, the Crimson received 51 points from their reserves on a night in which 13 players garnered playing time under Head Coach Tommy Amaker.
“It didn’t matter who they put in,” Jones said. “We couldn’t guard anybody out there. That’s a huge problem for us.”
Harvard jumped out to an immediate 10-3 lead in the game’s first five minutes after an explosion on the offensive boards. Eight of those points were notched by Perez, who retrieved two offensive rebounds and subsequent putbacks in the process.
BU cut the deficit to 20-14 halfway through the first half after a baseline jumper by Mahoney, but Harvard opened the floodgates from deep on the Terriers’ 2-3 zone on the subsequent collection of possessions.
“They shot 60 percent in the first half,” Jones said. “We had no answers.”
Towns, Christian Juzang and Bassey all made 3-pointers for the Crimson, who upped their advantage to 29-16. A Danilo Djuricic three with 2:29 remaining handed the Crimson a 36-26 lead, but the Terriers began to trim the gap with solid defensive play aided by a few key shots.
A Bassey turnover led to a Tyler Scanlon layup and a Corey Johnson turnover was flipped into a lay-in by McCoy. The freshman point guard then found Scanlon open on the wing for a deep 3-pointer with two seconds left in the half to slice the Harvard advantage to just 36-34 at the break.
The Crimson began the second half with some fireworks. Robbie Feinberg, who started the game after not playing in the team’s first 10 contests, knocked down a 3-pointer over McCoy before point guard Rio Haskett swished a sweet turnaround jumper amidst contact from Walter Whyte to bump the Harvard lead to 41-35.
One minute later, the lead ballooned to 10 after Bassey finished a layup with contact from Cedric Hankerson for an “and-one“ finish.
But the Terriers would not roll over. A deep 3-pointer from McCoy with 14:25 left chopped the lead to six before an Eric Johnson triple one minute later cut the deficit to 47-42.
Harvard proceeded to bump the lead back up, with a Juzang three and a Chris Lewis layup creating a 54-42 gap. The advantage grew to 62-47 with 6:44 remaining as Chris Egi finished a putback dunk and BU picked up a team technical foul after arguing that a goaltend should have been called. Bassey then obliged by hitting two foul shots to put Harvard up by 15.
Bassey then put the game away with under three minutes to go with a deep three, which made the margin 70-54.
The Terriers will begin their Patriot League slate next Friday, Dec. 29, when they host Army at Case Gym.