By: Greg Levinsky
After a nearly month long hiatus from their top tier production, the dynamic duo of juniors Max Mahoney and Tyler Scanlon returned just in time to snap a four-game skid with their stellar play Wednesday at Case Gym.
Usually when Mahoney gets his shot emphatically blocked, the Boston University men’s basketball team is not in a good place. But with the way with Scanlon was playing, it couldn’t have worked out any better. On the first play of the second half of the Terriers 68-54 win over Holy Cross, it was just what they needed.
With reigning Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year Jehyve Floyd, prowling for a second block, Scanlon corralled the blocked shot and calmly head-faked, sidestepped and pulled up for a triple, giving the Terriers (10-12, 3-6 Patriot League) their largest lead at the time.
“You kind of have to acknowledge that he’s more athletic than you, he’s longer than you, and you can’t be too proud,” Scanlon said. “At the same time, you have to stay aggressive.”
Scanlon provided one of his best performances of the year on Wednesday at Case Gym. He produced 17 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals, and Mahoney had a team-high 19 points to go with 9 rebounds.
Floyd (4 blocks) anchored the visiting Crusaders (12-10, 3-6), but Mahoney responded with voracity. He threw down a dunk on the possession after he was blocked, and scored on three straight possessions to help the Terriers take a double-digit lead early in the second half.
“You can’t get discouraged when [Floyd] comes and punches one of your balls out of bounds,” Mahoney said. “You’ve just got to keep driving that lane because if you stop driving the offense gets stagnant.”
Scanlon made 3-of-6 attempts from deep. After entering the game shooting under 25 percent from deep in conference play, the junior forward’s return to efficiency from deep is key. It takes a combination of Scanlon and Mahoney to get the Terriers rolling as the team’s rotation is comprised of eight underclassmen.
“It’s tough to ask guys to be not just ready, but perform at a high level every game,” Scanlon said. “We (Scanlon and Mahoney) haven’t performed at a really high level every game, and I think if your older guys are struggling with consistency it trickles down.
“We’ve just got to be steady, so then it’s easier for the younger guys, to have a little bit of something to lean on.”
Mahoney said sometimes he and Scanlon “put some pressure” on themselves to get everyone going.
BU head coach Joe Jones sees the impact Scanlon and Mahoney can have not only on the game, but the team’s youngsters. Tonight it was Scanlon.
“He was back to being what he was last year, a good all around player, not a guy that’s just going to get 12 or 14 points,” Jones said.
It was back and forth early, but the Terriers finished the first half with one final push.
Scanlon helped spark it, including an 8-2 spurt while taking better care of the ball en route to a 30-26 halftime lead. He had 12 first half points.
The aforementioned Scanlon splash and Mahoney’s eruption fueled a 16-6 run to open the second half, capped by a Scanlon steal and dunk. The Terriers held a double-digit lead for the final 16:29.
— BU Men’s Basketball (@TerrierMBB) January 31, 2019
With a combined 36 points, 18 rebounds and 8 assists, it was arguably the best performance of the season for the duo, which also combined for 43 and 38 points in home wins over UMass Lowell and Bucknell.
It was a night where those two Terriers did all the team needed, and got contributions from others, including a combined 7-of-10 from beyond the arc by sophomores Javante McCoy (14 points) and Andrew Petcash (11 points).
“The guys did a great job with the game plan,” Jones said. “Using the different defenses that we used, I though they executed on a high level.”
Greg Levinsky can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregLevinsky