By: Greg Levinsky
Now it’s time for the toughest challenge. Boston University men’s basketball travels to Lewisburg, Penn. on Tuesday night. Game two of eighteen of the Patriot League slate is upon us.
In game one, a 33-point outburst from senior Cedric Hankerson in Boston University’s 90-82 win over Army helped BU to start off the new year. Head coach Joe Jones said he was overall content with how his team performed.
“I was pleased with a lot of things last game,” Jones said. “But we can’t afford to make the mistakes against we made against Army against Bucknell. We’re going to have to play harder, smarter and longer.”
Jones said moving onto playing the preseason favorite in Bucknell early in the conference slate not only helps his team to see the league’s best competition, but also to see where they stand.
“They are a terrific team,” Jones said. “They play with a lot of confidence. I think it’s going to get out there and compete with the best in our league and see where we stack up.”
After capturing the 2017 Patriot League title, the Bison (7-7, 1-0 Patriot League) look to extend their winning streak at Sojka Pavillion to 16. Seniors Nana Foulland and Zach Thomas are reigning First-Team All-Patriot League members and classmate Stephen Brown was named to the Second-Team. Junior guard Kimball Mackenzie notched Third-Team honors a season ago.
Brown and Foulland were both named to the Patriot League All-Defensive team. Foulland also took home the conference’s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Jones put it simply, the trifecta of Foulland, Thomas and Brown offer up three of the league’s best players donning the same jersey.
“They probably have the best three players in the league,” Jones said. “They also have some great players around them. They are a handful, and they know how to win .”
Thomas, a forward, is putting up 22.7 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Foulland holds averages of 17.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per contest at center. Brown’s dishing out 5.2 helpers per contest to go along with 12.4 points-per-game.
Bucknell gave both Maryland and North Carolina scares, and looks to once again be top talent in the Patriot League.
Hankerson leads the Terriers at 14.8 points-per-game. Sophomore Max Mahoney is the only other BU player in double figures at 11.3 points, he also leads the team at 5.0 rebounds-per-game.
Freshman Javante McCoy and Walter Whyte were reinserted in the starting lineup against Army, joining Hankerson and sophomores Tyler Scanlon and Max Mahoney. Senior forward Nick Havener was in a walking boot on the bench.
After overcoming two knee surgeries, Hankerson said he feels more comfortable driving to the basket, a stark contrast from last year. He spearheads the offense, and Jones said execution and getting what they want is key.
“Offensively, we have to run at our pace,” Jones said. “Playing our offense at an efficient pace will help us to win.”