By: Greg Levinsky
Ten underclassmen and two juniors make up Boston University men’s basketball’s core. Yet, the youngsters are developing into a truly intriguing team. Despite a 78-72 loss to Vermont on Friday night at Case Gym, the Terriers (1-1) demonstrated their potential as a matchup nightmare.
Nine Terriers played double-digit minutes, and all provided formidable contributions. Junior Max Mahoney paced the Terriers with 18 points in 23 minutes, but he’s the first to admit his team spans far beyond his production.
“Down through the whole lineup you see production pretty much through and through,” he said. “Being able to bring that diversity to our offense makes other teams prepare for us.”
Junior Tyler Scanlon posted 17 points and seven rebounds, and Javante McCoy was the third double-digit scorer with 10 points. Mahoney, McCoy and Scanlon have been the only Terriers to score in double-digits. All three have in each of the first two games.
The Catamounts (1-0) opened up their season with a win in Boston over their old America East foes. Vermont head coach John Becker said the Terriers pose a tough matchup.
Becker’s earned the America East Coach of the Year three of the past five seasons, so he knows what makes up a good team. He said BU has the tools to challenge anyone, and. it’s hard to adjust during games to the potential for many different lineups.
“You definetly have to be on top of who’s in the game,” Becker said. “Like any team, all their guys bring a different quality to the game.”
Boston University head coach Joe Jones said he can’t shorten his rotation, there’re just too many solid players.
“I don’t know if we ever can, honestly,” Jones said. “I just think we’re that deep, and we have to use it to an advantage.
“There’s too many good players not to play these guys.”
Becker said it’s especially a challenge defensively and he changed their approach multiple times throughout the game.
“We changed our defense quite a bit tonight to adjust to who they had in the game,” Becker said. “It’s going to serve them well, those guys are going to develop.”
Vermont junior Anthony Lamb put up a monstrous 19 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 steals stat line. He said BU’s bigs gave him fits.
“They have a great front court and the bigs play really hard,” Lamb said. “They gave me a battle all night.”
Mahoney shot an efficient 7-of-12 from the field and hit all four of his free-throw attempts. He threw down two monstrous dunks, and Lamb said you can’t take a play off when guarding the Terriers top big.
“He gave everything he had, I gave him everything I had,” Lamb said. “We left nothing out there.”
However, the depth chart is much deeper. Especially up front.
Talent in the front court provides the Terriers an interesting look. Along with the 6-foot-8 Mahoney, three freshman are capable of banging and playing outside. 6-foot-9 Jack Hemphill, 6-foot-8 Jordan Guest and 6-foot-7 Fletcher Tynen do it all.
“They’re stepping in and doing what we’re asking them to do,” Mahoney said.
In the past, injuries mounted up and Jones didn’t have enough bodies to execute the rotations he envisioned. Now he has a good problem of having endless weapons.
“Right now I can say we’re going to play at least 10 – for sure,” Jones said. “There’s just a lot of guys up front right now that we can play.”
With upperclassmen laden teams over the past couple of seasons, Jones is pleased where his program is at. There’s a new aura around the team.
“This group has the potential to do something special,” Jones said. “You can just feel it.”
Greg Levinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GregLevinsky