By: Greg Levinsky
BOSTON — If there’s one thing senior guard Will Goff has learned in his time at BU, it’s to take advantage of the opportunities handed to him.
Starting in place of classmate and leading scorer Cedric Hankerson, Goff reaped the benefits of extended minutes. The senior erupting for 17 points on 6-of-6 shooting, including 5-of-5 from beyond the arc in the first half in the Terriers’ 92-81 victory over Lehigh on Monday afternoon.
“I’m a shooter. I’ve learned that from a young age, and I’ve learned to really accept it as my role,” Goff said. “Especially on this team, we’re moving the ball, and that’s how I get open shots. When I get the open shots I have the confidence to take them and make them because that’s what I practice everyday.”
Goff surpassed Hankerson’s scoring output (14.7 PPG) not even halfway through the victory over the Mountain Hawks (7-8, 2-2 PL). Averaging 7.6 points-per-game in his final campaign, Goff has either matched or set a new career-high in 3-pointers made four times this season.
“This year has been a dream come true,” Goff said. “It’s been awesome. Unfortunate events due to injury have led me to have more minutes this year, and I’ve been trying to fill those roles as much as I can. I’ve been getting in some rhythms, which as a shooter is great.”
Sophomores Max Mahoney, Tyler Scanlon and freshman Walter Whyte also provided strong efforts.
Mahoney netted a game-high 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting and added two blocked shots.
Scanlon tallied 17 points, all coming in the second half, to go along with eight rebounds and five assists. Whyte scored 10 of his 16 points in the first half and pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds.
“I thought we had great contributions,” said Boston University Head Coach Joe Jones. “I thought Scanlon was tremendous, Walter Whyte was terrific and Max was great. We had a lot of guys play at a high level for long stretches. It was a great team win.”
Whyte scored seven of BU’s first 11 points on a 3-pointer, a pair of free throws and a layup off a lob pass from classmate Javante McCoy. That helped the Terriers (7-8, 3-1 Patriot League) take an 11-5 advantage just under three minutes in.
A 6-0 Lehigh push and a bucket by sophomore guard Jordan Cohen gave the Mountain Hawks their first lead at 14-13, but back-to-back triples by Goff put BU back ahead 19-14. Goff entered the game tied for third in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage with his season-mark standing at 57.7 percent.
“Will Goff was sensational,” Jones said. “I had him in and out of the rotation and he never complained. He just kept going and getting better. He’s been terrific. He’s had a great year.”
The Terriers began the game on a torrid 9-of-12 stretch from the field including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. BU also hit all three of their free throw attempts.
Goff managed a trifecta of triples to extend the Terrier lead to 19, at 41-22, with 3:42 remaining in the first half.
BU then went on a 19-5 run over the last seven minutes of the half, and led Lehigh 49-25 heading into the locker room.
Sophomore Max Mahoney opened the second half scoring with a layup and a free-throw after James Karnik fouled him driving to the hoop. And after a hook by Lehigh freshman James Karnik, Mahoney converted on his own layup.
After consecutive threes from Lehigh junior Lance Tejada (21 points) and sophomore Pat Andree (19 points), Jones called timeout with BU leading 54-33 just under two minutes into the half.
A three by Lehigh senior guard Kahron Ross (12 points, four assists) cut the Terrier lead to 10 with under one minute left. The Mountain Hawks had a 3-point barrage of their own, going 12-of-23 in the second half.
“It happens every year,” Jones said. “They’re such a talented team and there’s no lead that’s safe. I’ve seen these games. They’re able to generate points quickly.
“Some of the shots they were making, there’s nothing you could do but tackle the guy; Javante tried,” Jones joked.
Despite not scoring in the second half, Goff provided a boost with two assists, a steal and a blocked shot. He praised his teammates for providing a full-throttle effort.
“We’re so well rounded and everyone brings something different to the table, night in and night out it’s someone else,” Goff said “You can go through the entire roster, someone’s going to bring you the energy you need to get over the hump.”
- Freshman guard Andrew Petcash nailed a left corner 3-pointer to give BU its first double-digit lead. With Hankerson sidelined, Petcash eclipsed his 3.1 minutes-per-game mark against Division 1 teams with 10 minutes.
- Senior forward Nick Havener returned to the Terrier lineup after missing the team’s last three games. Havener’s absence stemmed from a leg injury sustained in the first half of BU’s 74-63 loss at Harvard on Dec. 21. He played nine minutes and scored five pounds while adding three rebounds in the win over Lehigh.