By: Greg Levinsky
Jonas Harper nailed the dagger in Boston University men’s basketball’s 72-65 win over Loyola Saturday at Case Gym.
The 6-foot-2 freshman guard connected on a 3-pointer to break a tie with 53 seconds left, and followed with a steal and two free throws to pace the host Terriers (13-16, 6-10 Patriot League) in their come from behind victory over the visiting visiting Greyhounds (10-19, 6-10).
“Everybody just tells me to keep on shooting,” said Harper, who finished with seven points, four rebounds and two steals. “Sometimes I get down on my shots when I’m missing, so they just keep me up.”
Harper erupted for a career-high 22 points in the prior game, including connecting on 6-of-8 3-point attempts in a win at Holy Cross. He’s collected all six of his double-figure scoring performances in conference play.
Junior forward Max Mahoney, who leads the Terriers in scoring and rebounding, said he saw Harper’s potential in the fall and shared his pride in the development of the first-year guard.
“I saw the pieces were there, and I’m really happy he’s pieced it together,” Mahoney said. “As one of the older guys on the team it’s really impressive to see that. I keep trying to encourage him to do his thing.”
Harper is shooting a tremendous 59.5 percent clip from deep in conference play, going 25-of-42 from range. He’s averaging 6.8 points per game in league play, the team’s best mark for a reserve.
“I worked on my shot a lot in the summer with coaches,” Harper said. “I practice every day shooting off fades, screens… They just keep telling me to shoot it every time, so I shoot it.”
One of six freshman on the team, Harper is the second of that group scoring behind redshirt guard Alex Vilarino. He’s the top scorer among true freshmen. All have made strong contributions, but Harper’s are perhaps the most surprising.
He’s a walk-on and did not commit until this past summer. Now he’s carved out an important role.
“We all teach each other,” Harper said. “We all shine in different ways.”
Greg Levinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GregLevinsky