By: Greg Levinsky
BOSTON — Efficient. That’s what Cedric Hankerson was in Boston University men’s basketball’s 90-82 victory over the Army Black Knights at Case Gym.
Hankerson scored 33 points on 10-of-14 shooting including 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. He also made 8-of-10 from the charity stripe, and added five rebounds along with two steals.
“I got my rythym and I just started rolling,” Hankerson said. “Our offense looked like a well-oiled machine tonight.”
He got the game started with a five-point swing of his own, nailing a triple from the right wing before stealing the subsequent inbound pass for a left-handed finish.
Army junior guard Jordan Fox netted 16 first-half points including a pair of triples from the top of the key that put the Black Knights (7-5, 0-1 Patriot League) up 8-5 early. In a first half that featured four lead changes and five ties, the Terriers seemed to gain control before another Army push.
Three-pointers from Hankerson, sophomore forward Tyler Scanlon, senior guard Eric Johnson and freshman guard Walter Whyte netted the Terriers (5-7, 1-0 Patriot League) a 12-point advantage with 4:18 to go in the first half.
Army then blitzed BU with their suffocating man-to-man defense, pumping out an 11-4 run to close the first half and cut the Terrier lead to 46-41.
“We had a hard time controlling them,” Boston University Head Coach Joe Jones said. “We strung along some stops and were able to extend our lead.”
Hankerson scored 15 first-half points on 5-of-7 shooting including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Sophomore forward Max Mahoney and Scanlon each reached double digits in the first half.
Army junior forward Luke Morrison splashed a three of his own to tie it up at 48 less than two minutes into the second half. Hankerson followed with a steal and score, freshman guard Javante McCoy did the same with a slam to put BU up two possessions.
“[Army] is always trying to push the pace offensively, tonight I didn’t think their defense was that aggressive,” Hankerson said. “I thought we kind of controlled them on the offensive end. That helped us to get more comfortable because we were playing at our pace, not theirs.”
The Black Knights hung around, but freshman Tucker Blackwell missed three free throws, and BU followed with a Mahoney turnaround finish to put BU up 61-55 with just under 10 minutes left. That’s when Hankerson took over.
Two free throws followed by back-to-back triples gave him 27 points and the Terriers a 71-60 lead. After the second, the usually stoic Hankerson flashed a grin.
He scored 14 points in just over a four minute span.
“He was terrific in every way tonight,” Jones said. “He’s a first team All-League player. He’s that good.”
A triple by Will Goff gave the Terriers their largest lead at 13 with just under two minutes to play. Goff went 2-of-3 from beyond the arc in the second half.
“I though the second half was more towards our pace as the game went on,” Jones said. “We didn’t press at all in the second half, and that seemed to work.”
Hankerson deferred to Scanlon to shoot technicals with 1:13 to go after Army Head Coach Jimmy Allen was plunked, putting BU up 81-69. The Terriers held on thanks to six free throws down the stretch by Scanlon, who finished with 16 points to finalize the 90-82 score.
Mahoney and six-foot-ten freshman center Sukhmail Mathon were the leading assist men, with five and four respectively.
“We have so much talent on our team, so much depth, and it’s really good that everyone can see that,” Hankerson said. “Now they’re finally starting to show everybody what they’re capable of in games.”
Jones echoed the sentiment.
“A great contribution from a lot of different dudes,” he said.
Hankerson’s 33 points led a quartet of double-figure scorers as Mahoney finished with 12 points and freshman Walter Whyte added 16 points along with Scanlon’s 16. Fox had 18 and eight assists for Army, but was limited to just two second-half points.
Hankerson is both excited and determined for his last run through the Patriot League.
“It’s my last first Patriot League game, so I’m just trying to leave everything on the court,” he said. “It’s my last go-around. In my career we still haven’t been able to get over the hump and win a Patriot League Championship so that’s the main goal, the NCAA Tournament.”