Men’s Basketball: Poor defense hurts BU in loss to Navy

By: Liam O’Brien

Many times this season at Case Gym, the Boston University men’s basketball team has made a ferocious comeback in the final few minutes only to come up short against an opponent they are capable of beating.

This is just what happened on Saturday afternoon, as the Terriers ended the regular season on a sour note with a 79-74 loss to Navy, a team they beat on the road earlier this season.

“We made no plays,” Terriers head coach Joe Jones said. “It’s disappointing.”

BU trailed the Midshipmen 67-52 with four minutes left before going on a tremendous surge to cut the deficit to three with 38 seconds left.

This was a re-run of two weeks ago, when BU fought back from a 16-point deficit late in the second half against Lehigh to give themselves a chance to win with 10 seconds remaining.

In many of these games, BU has gotten good looks offensively. The Terriers shot 52 percent from the field against Navy. However, their effort on the defensive end is consistently letting them down.

“I don’t know why we’ve struggled so bad,” Jones said. “It’s tough to watch guys get layups and open shots.”

The Midshipmen got open shot after open shot in the first half, shooting an astounding 72 percent in the opening 20 minutes to take a 46-35 advantage.

“I don’t think we were playing with the level of effort and energy you have to play with,” Jones said. “They did a good job of taking advantage of how we were guarding.”

Navy senior guard Dominick Antonelli hit a three-pointer 21 seconds into the game and before you could blink, the Midshipmen had scored 19 points before the first media timeout.

The Mids made six of their first nine three-point attempts and scored 20 points in the paint in the opening period. In the span of a minute, they transformed a 35-24 lead into a commanding 41-25 edge with three open layups.

“We weren’t playing with energy in the zone,” Jones said. “It didn’t matter what we did. We could have done a much better job.”

Against Lehigh, we saw a similar pattern. The Mountain Hawks put up 45 points in the first half of that contest and shot 55 percent in during that span. When BU came out for the second half, they were faced with the obstacle of a 13-point hole.

BU seems like a looser bunch over the past few weeks, playing with more energy on the offensive end. However, this needs to translate to the defensive side if the Terriers want to keep their season alive Tuesday night in the Patriot League first round.

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