By: Greg Levinsky
Smack in the middle of the second half, it appeared as though Jordan Guest was in a spot shooting drill. First from the right corner, then the top of the key.
The 6-foot-8 freshman forward drained triples on back-to-back possessions on Tuesday to give the Boston University men’s basketball team its then-largest lead of the day en route to a 79-60 victory over UMass Lowell at Case Gym.
Boston University head coach Joe Jones said there was “no question” that Guest’s shots were the ones he trusts him to take.
“That helps us,” Jones said. “The young guys, as time goes on, if they take the right shots they’ll make them.”
Had it not been for sophomore Sukhmail Mathon picking up his third foul less than three minutes into the second half, Guest may not have gotten the same chance. When Guest’s number was called, he cashed in.
The first was a no-doubter. The second rattled in. Either way, his efforts helped the Terriers parlay a multi-possession lead over the River Hawks (5-6) for the final 12 minutes of the game.
The Terriers (6-4) returned from a six-game road trip to snap a two-game skid against the River Hawks. Juniors Max Mahoney (23 points, 10 rebounds) and Tyler Scanlon (20 points) led the way.
Scanlon said it was almost “a foreign experience” to play at home after so many road games.
“That’s a new experience I haven’t had for the past month,” Scanlon said. “It was good to be back in Case. Good to have friends and family there.”
Mahoney said he remembers being in a similar position to Guest when he was a freshman. Mahoney said Jones told him to be the energizer, and that’s what he sees from Guest as well as the other five freshman on the roster.
“Going into the game as a freshman, I was thinking of what I could do to stay on the floor in order to play, and that came through with getting rebounds and getting tip backs to the guards” Mahoney said. “A lot of it came on the rebounding end. I couldn’t worry as much about scoring… Just knowing what you have to bring to the table when you come into the game.”
UMass Lowell opened up the game on a 10-2 spurt, prompting Jones to call timeout. The Terriers responded as Mathon canned a right-wing triple, spurning a level Terrier attack. A Scanlon layup off a Mahoney assist preceded a UMass Lowell turnover, and a Mahoney 3-point play tied it at 18 for the first time since being tied at two. BU took its first lead on pair of Javante McCoy free-throws.
UMass Lowell freshman Joey Glynn followed with a bucket, but Scanlon cashed a top of the key triple to take a 23-20 lead. A technical helped the Terriers get up by as much as seven, but the River Hawks battled back as the Terriers ultimately carried a 34-32 lead into halftime.
Less than three minutes into the second half, Terrier freshman guard Garrett Pascoe and Mathon picked up their third personal fouls. Guest and redshirt freshman Alex Vilarino came in.
“A big thing for the guys coming off the bench is bringing energy, that will keep you in the game,” Mahoney said.
And that they did. Vilarino made his presence felt immediately with a steal and a pair of free-throws to make it 38-34. Guest’s second 3-pointer made it 50-42, and the Terriers cruised from there.
“Any time that your starters or go-to guys have off nights or off halves, any time you get your rotation guys to come in and make plays that’s huge,” Scanlon said. “That’s the difference between a good team and great team.”
Greg Levinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GregLevinsky