By: Matt Doherty
EASTON, Penn. — BU did its best in the final minute to hand the game away but still came out victorious in a 75-72 win over Lafayette on Wednesday night at Kirby Sports Center.
The Terriers led by 15 points with exactly one minute remaining and by 10 with 30 seconds left, but a missed 3-pointer by Alex Petrie at the buzzer shut the door on the insurmountable comeback attempt.
BU now sits alone in second-place in the Patriot League with a 7-2 record, its best start since 2014. The Terriers will play league-leading Bucknell (8-1) Sunday afternoon in a decisive showdown that will most likely decide the regular season title.
“I thought we really competed tonight,” Coach Joe Jones said. “I thought we played with a lot of fight. We got some great contributions. That’s how talented this group is.”
The Terriers played without leading scorer Cedric Hankerson, who is nursing a hamstring injury. Starting forward Max Mahoney was also limited to just 17 minutes on Wednesday dealing with an injury himself.
In their absences, senior Nick Havener stepped up with a career-high 21 points off the bench.
“He was just playing with great energy,” Jones said of Mahoney. “He was everywhere. He was posting up. He scored a ton at the rim. He played like a first-teamer tonight.”
BU trailed 22-6 not even nine minutes into the game thanks to sharp-shooting from Lafayette forwards Matt Klinewksi and Paulius Zalys.
The Terriers chipped away the rest of the half and five points from Havener in the final minute of the first cut the halftime deficit to 34-30.
Trailing 44-36 with 15:40 remaining, BU went on a 25-4 run to take control of the game. Freshman Walter Whyte recorded a breakaway dunk during the stretch and Javante McCoy and Tyler Scanlon knocked down consecutive 3-pointers to give BU its first lead of the game at 48-46.
McCoy and Scanlon each finished with 13 points, Whyte had 9 points and 8 rebounds, and Mahoney had 12 points.
After Scanlon’s free throws made it 74-64 with 30 seconds left, Lafayette made two 3-pointers and two free throws sandwiched around a pair of Terrier turnovers to make it 74-72 with 8 seconds left.
McCoy then split a pair at the line before Petrie missed a 3-pointer as time expired.
“We need to get better at late game situations and how to handle pressure,” Jones said. “I told our guys how hard it was going to be. I’m proud of how the guys stepped up.”