By: Liam O’Brien
HANOVER, NH – When all but two of your rotation players are underclassmen, letdowns are inevitable.
This is just what happened to the Boston University men’s basketball team in Thursday’s disappointing 78-68 loss at Dartmouth.
“We didn’t do a great job of listening to the coach,” BU head coach Joe Jones said. “They didn’t listen to the game plan.”
The Terriers knew the Big Green’s offense was predicated around shooting 3-pointers. They still let them get open looks from deep throughout the night.
BU also realized they would have to keep Dartmouth off the offensive boards in order to prevent easy second-chance buckets on kick-outs to shooters on the perimeter.
This plan was not executed, either. The Big Green (7-5) grabbed 12 offensive rebounds to the Terriers two and out-rebounded BU 36-22 as a whole.
“The rebounds killed us,” Jones said. “They out-fought us.”
BU (6-5) knew they would have to come with added energy after nine days off from game action. After jumping out to a 12-7 start in the first five minutes, the Terriers were outscored by 10 points over the final 15 minutes of the first half and relinquished every ounce of momentum they had. The second half was more of the same as Dartmouth went on a 7-0 run early in the frame to extend its lead to 10.
“We went into halftime, made adjustments,” Jones said. “They didn’t listen and it cost us. They know that. The second half was a complete debacle. When we came out in the second half, I didn’t see the energy. When we walked on the floor, I could tell.”
Dartmouth junior guard Brendan Barry entered the game shooting 56 percent from 3-point range, and the Terriers were aware of the danger of letting him get looks from beyond the arc.
However, the Big Green were crafty in getting Barry open for the three-ball. They continuously set back-screens to release Barry into open space, making life difficult for BU freshman guards Garrett Pascoe and Alex Vilarino to track him down.
“When we put subs in, guys made mistakes,” Jones said. “Garrett did a commendable job at times because he fought. But outside of that, I don’t know if anyone played well defensively. It’s a shame.”
Barry put on a laser show from deep in the second half and all BU could do was tip its cap. Nearly every time Barry’s shot, you knew it was going in. He went 6-of-8 from three while scoring 21 points in the final 20 minutes en route to 31 points on 8-of-13 three-point shooting for the game.
“Guys went under stuff when they weren’t supposed to,” Jones said. “Guys got hit with screens. We look like an inexperienced team at times out there defensively.”
Barry was lights out, and the Terriers were powerless in stopping him. Too many times in the second half he was standing on an island with his hands waving in the air, a BU defender too far away to get a hand in his face.
“We just weren’t locked in,” Jones said. “He’s shooting 50 percent from three so if he gets an open shot it’s going in. So, you really have to be on top of your game and we just didn’t have the level of discipline that it takes to get it done.”