By: Liam O’Brien
Each of the Boston University men’s basketball team’s previous seven losses this season could be blamed on its swath of inexperienced freshman in the rotation.
In the Terriers 86-82 loss to Army at Case Gym on Wednesday night, the young guns were the ones keeping the team alive as they struggled to contain a hot shooting Black Knights squad.
Despite falling to 8-8 on the season, BU received critical contributions from two of their underclassmen guards, freshman Jonas Harper and sophomore Andrew Petcash.
“Petcash and [Harper] did what they can do,” Terriers head coach Joe Jones said. “Those guys were able to come in and give us some solid minutes.”
On a night where junior forward and leading scorer Max Mahoney attempted just five shots en route to 11 points and sophomore guard Javante McCoy played a modest 17 minutes, Harper and Petcash filled in the gaps.
“I didn’t think any of the starters played as well as they’re capable of playing,” Jones said. “We needed more out of the guys we normally depend on.”
Just a walk-on, Harper played as though he deserves a scholarship. He had yet to score more than seven points in a game in his career, but Wednesday night was a special outing. The Stamford, Conn. native scored 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field and managed a perfect 3-of-3 conversion rate from beyond the arc.
Harper knocked down shots off the dribble with conviction and was scintillating in catch-and-shoot situations on both the wing and in the corner.
Petcash’s shot also shimmered against Army. He went 5-of-6 from the field including 2-of-3 from deep for 12 points. Wednesday night signaled the first time Petcash had recorded double figures in scoring all season and his most points since registering 15 in a game against Wheaton last year.
He entered the game with the Terriers needing a bucket after the team scored just four points in the first six minutes of the game. Petcash provided multiple, knocking down two jumpers in succession to propel a 4-0 spurt for BU.
The Pittsburgh native kept his unit in contention in the second half, cutting the Terriers deficit to four points on three separate occasions with two threes and a layup in the final eight minutes.
When BU is searching for offense during conference play, Harper and Petcash are two reserves Jones can give a nod to.
“There are times when we need that,” Jones said. “We can go there.”
Overall, the bench played a massive role in the contest with 49 points. Freshman forward Jack Hemphill made two threes to notch 10 points and classmates Jordan Guest, Alex Vilarino and Garrett Pascoe each netted six points.