By: Liam O’Brien
In Thursday’s 78-68 loss at Dartmouth, the Boston University men’s basketball team was out-muscled in every facet.
The Big Green won the rebound battle 36-22 while scoring 13 second chance points to BU’s none en route to a convincing win over the Terriers.
On Saturday, a different Terriers team came to play as the team improved to 7-5 with a 75-63 beating of Nicholls State.
“We really honed in on [rebounding] in practice yesterday,” junior forward Max Mahoney said. “Made it a key. We knew this team was big, athletic and they were coming for it. We figured they’d watch the film and crash hard.”
BU hit the glass with intensity, recording 39 rebounds to the Colonels 27. The Terriers placed an emphasis on getting keasters on guys on the defensive glass, allowing just three offensive rebounds and the same amount of second-chance points.
“We just really honed in on being able to box them out, tag them and go get the ball,” Mahoney said.
It was not just the big men clamoring for rebounds. The whole team was involved.
“It was definitely an emphasis today,” redshirt-freshman point guard Alex Vilarino said. “We got to help our big guys out. It can’t just be them on the boards all the time. We got to make sure we come down and we rebound for them.”
Sophomore forward Sukhmail Mathon tied for the team lead with seven rebounds after getting just two on Thursday. Mahoney matched his output while junior forward Tyler Scanlon had six boards. Freshman forward Jack Hemphill tracked down five and Vilarino retrieved four rebounds in his first career start.
“They’re battling the whole game and normally the guards just get back on the opposite team,” Vilarino said. “We’re not being blocked out by anybody so go get the rebound.”
The Terriers owned the key throughout the victory. After allowing 32 points in the paint against Dartmouth, BU shored up this area and yielded only 22 points to Nicholls. Their frontcourt prevented the Colonels bigs from gaining any position down low, nullifying their ability to post up and do damage in one-on-one situations.
Offensively, BU dominated in the post with 46 points in this locale. This team plays best when they get the ball inside, and they were able to do this with consistency against Nicholls.
“There are nights where we’re just not getting the ball in there enough,” Terriers head coach Joe Jones said. “We’ve struggled to get it in there. Some of it is inexperience. I think our guards need to do a better job getting the ball to those guys and then we can play from there.”
Mahoney obliterated his matchup in the paint with spin moves, and hook shots were a common sight as he made 9-of-11 field goal attempts for a team-high 20 points in 26 minutes. Freshman forwards Jordan Guest and Hemphill went to work inside as well with nine points apiece.
“We have so many guys that can hurt you in there,” Jones said. “I was just waiting for Jack. You bring a guy like Jack off the bench, he can put a lot of pressure on you. Max is in there. Guest can score in there. Going into league play, I think we’re going to be able to focus more on that and get it in there more.”
The Terriers also slammed the offensive boards with fervor. After failing to record a single second-chance bucket and garnering two offensive rebounds against Dartmouth, BU remedied this problem on Saturday. With Mathon leading the way with three offensive rebounds, the Terriers swiped nine off the offensive glass and scored six second-chance points.
“We came out with a lot of energy today,” Vilarino said. “We came ready to play. We made an emphasis on rebounding.”