By: Greg Levinsky
If the achilles heel of the Boston University men’s basketball team is inconsistency, their last two games serve as a microcosm of this characteristic.
On Sunday, the Terriers topped two-time reigning Patriot League champion Bucknell 87-80 on their home floor. However, the average Army West Point Black Knights visited Case Gym on Wednesday and came out with an 86-82 win.
“We fell right into their hands,” Boston University head coach Joe Jones said.
Freshman Jonas Harper came to play, posting a career-high and team-high 15 points. Classmate Jack Hemphill provided a strong performance as well with 10 points, three rebounds and a block. Sophomore Andrew Petcash had a season-high 12 points.
“I thought that was the highlight of the game,” Jones said. “I thought those guys were focused.”
Juniors Tyler Scanlon and Max Mahoney along with sophomore Javante McCoy came into the game averaging a combined 41.6 points per game. They combined for just 21 against Army.
“I don’t think the starters played as well as they are capable of playing,” Jones said.
McCoy sat out the last 15-plus minutes of the second half due to what Jones said was a “coach’s decision,” the reason being kept “in house.”
“We needed more from the guys we depend on,” Jones said.
The Terriers (8-8, 1-2 Patriot League) failed to separate themselves in the first half, something they did so assertively against Bucknell. The Terriers got out to a 12-2 lead against Bucknell in their Patriot League home opener, but traded baskets with Army for most of the first half.
Hemphill shined early. He took two charges and on one sequence followed drawing an offensive foul with a 3-pointer, then a block on the other end. Hemphill’s efforts weren’t enough as Army (7-9, 2-1) took a 33-28 halftime lead.
He then sparked a second half run with a thunderous dunk. Hemphill added a pair of free throws, Harper followed with a triple and Scanlon (8 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists) drove the lane for a score to tie it at 47 midway through the second half.
— BU Men’s Basketball (@TerrierMBB) January 10, 2019
Both teams took narrow leads midway through the second half, but Mahoney (11 points, 4 rebounds) picked up his fourth foul with 10:36 to play. He fouled out late in regulation.
While they never extended the lead to double digits, Army took control. As soon as Mahoney came out, Army senior Jordan Fox followed with a long ball eruption, collecting a pair to stretch the Black Knights’ advantage to 64-57 with just over eight minutes remaining.
Fox collected a game-high 24 points, including nailing 6-of-8 attempts from beyond the arc.
“Giving up the threes were a huge part of the game when we were trying to come back,” Jones said. “Just too many foolish decisions.”
Though the Terriers hung around, cutting the deficit to as little as two before time ran out, they never evened the score.
Greg Levinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GregLevinsky