By: Liam O’Brien
We have come to the conclusion junior forward Max Mahoney is going to do his thing regardless of the matchup.
But if the Boston University men’s basketball team wants to reach expectations and win games in the Patriot League, they need more than just Mahoney’s stellar play.
If the Terriers are to compete for the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, sophomore guard Javante McCoy is one member of Mahoney’s supporting cast that has to find his rhythm.
“We talked to Javante and we talked to the team about Javante needing to be aggressive throughout the game,” BU head coach Joe Jones said.
McCoy did just that in Saturday’s thrilling 87-80 win over Bucknell in BU’s first home conference game. After scoring just 11 combined points in the Terriers previous two games at Case Gym, McCoy played with vigor against the Bison.
“I felt like Javante was really just trying to do what I asked him to do,” Jones said.
He matched his season-high with 18 points while adding a pair of rebounds, assists and steals in 30 impressive minutes. McCoy was 5-of-11 from the field and went a critical 6-of-6 from the free throw line. This included four massive makes from the charity stripe in the final minute that put the game out of reach.
“It’s just a mindset,” McCoy said. “Every time I’m on the court, just have an impact.”
McCoy is arguably BU’s best perimeter scorer and he registered buckets in a variety of ways against the two-time defending conference champions.
“Sometimes he’ll make the extra pass,” Mahoney said. “But as good of a shooter as he is, he can put those balls up.”
In the first half, he spotted up for a pair of three-point makes while creating space in the lane for a silky turnaround jumper, finishing the opening 20 minutes with eight points as the Terriers opened up a 43-32 lead. His confidence leaked into the second half, as he showcased his ability to shoot off the dribble with a midrange jumper in a pick-and-roll set just over a minute into the final frame.
“On offense, get where I need to be and then when it’s my opportunity, just capitalize on it,” McCoy said.
McCoy’s offensive fervor fed into the defensive end as well. With BU clinging to a 63-59 advantage with just under seven minutes left, McCoy nullified a Mahoney turnover by picking off a pass in the backcourt. He proceeded to get into the lane and draw a foul before making a pair of free throws.
“Just being aggressive,” McCoy said. “Playing my game and trying to lead.”
If the Terriers can rely on 12-15 points per game from McCoy, it would work wonders for their ability to space the floor and put up points against any Patriot League team.
“Javante is always trying to make the right plays,” Jones said. “We talked to the team about how we need Javante to play and how they can help Javante play more aggressively. That’s what you’re seeing now.”