By: Greg Levinsky
Just over two minutes into Boston University’s 91-79 loss to Bucknell on Sunday, sophomore Max Mahoney headed to the bench after picking up his second foul. Despite putting up a respectable 10 points in 12 minutes, it was one of his less favorable performances in recent play – a season low in minutes.
The 6-foot-8 forward returned to much needed stellar form with the continuing absence of senior guard Cedric Hankerson, who missed his third game in a row ailing to a hamstring injury. Senior Nick Havener did not play due to the flu.
“You could tell right from the start today that we were engaged and locked in,” Boston University Men’s Basketball Head Coach Joe Jones said. “[Mahoney] was the guy we had to ride tonight because he had it going.”
With a depleted front court coupled with 6-foot-7 sophomore Tyler Scanlon not in the starting lineup for the first time all year, Mahoney threw the Terriers’ (12-10, 8-3 Patriot League) first punch.
In the first two-plus minutes in Wednesday’s 64-55 win over Loyola Maryland (7-15, 5-6 PL), Mahoney netted six of his game-high 27 points, including opening the game’s scoring on a put back off an offensive rebound.
“It was kind of frustrating in the Bucknell game, having to sit most of the first half,” Mahoney said. “I tried to be not passive, but smarter with the decisions I was making on the court.”
After picking up his first foul 3:05 into the game, Mahoney headed to the bench. He returned two minutes later and immediately scored. Mahoney finished with 16 of the Terriers’ 33 first-half points enabling a 33-29 advantage.
Tasked to match up with Loyola senior forward Cam Gregory, who came into the game leading the Patriot League in offensive rebounding per game at 3.5 a contest, Mahoney out-muscled his elder all night. Gregory was limited to a modest four points and five rebounds in 26 minutes.
“We were locked in from the start of the game,” Jones said. “We were dialed in, the guys did it. We went after the ball. Tonight we went and made a concerted effort to rebound the ball.”
Midway through the second half, Loyola closed their deficit to 40-39 on a put-back jam by freshman forward Brett Holcombe. Mahoney followed with BU’s next seven points including a traditional 3-point play of his own to give him 21 points, and regain a two possession lead.
Senior guard Eric Johnson fed Mahoney with a beautiful pass to set up the play, and Mahoney met Johnson with a hug after converting the bucket.
“That’s the play I will probably remember,” Mahoney said. “It wasn’t a play that I made, he just made it really easy for me.”
Mahoney added a falling jumper on BU’s next possession. He later picked up consecutive fouls going for offensive rebounds, his fourth with 4:32 left in regulation, and got taken out of the game by Coach Jones. He returned and added a bucket to create a three-possession cushion, then blocked a shot by Loyola junior Sam Norton to set up a 3-pointer by Johnson to ice the victory.
Mahoney’s 27 points was his second highest output of both the season and his career. Mahoney’s fourth 20-point output was his most efficient, going 12-of-14 from the floor and 3-of-5 from the charity stripe. He also added seven rebounds.
“I thought we were really selfless tonight,” Mahoney said. “The ball just happened to come into my hands when I was near the rim so it was pretty easy for me. I was just trying to be aggressive on offense and do what I could do.”