By: Liam O’Brien
A year ago, Javante McCoy matched his career high with 21 points in an upset win over Lehigh in the Patriot League quarterfinals.
On Tuesday night at Case Gym, the Boston University sophomore guard thrived in a playoff atmosphere yet again.
McCoy exploded for a career-best 30 points in the Terriers 71-63 victory over Loyola Maryland in the first round of the Patriot League tournament. Playing against the leading scorer in the conference in Andrew Kostecka, McCoy looked like the best player on the court.
“He’s a heck of a player, we all know that,” BU head coach Joe Jones said. “He is a gamer. He’s going to come ready to go.”
After scoring just 10 points on 1-of-5 three-point shooting in a disappointing home loss to Navy on Saturday, McCoy ratcheted up his energy for this postseason affair. He fared 10-of-15 from the field, hit four of his six 3-point attempts and went 6-of-7 at the line less than a week after missing four late free throws in a narrow win at Lafayette.
“I was just trying to be aggressive,” McCoy said. “Coach Jones said, ‘Play loose, play your game, be the aggressor.’ That was my mindset.”
Towards the end of the first half with the game tied at 23, McCoy took over from behind the arc. He hit the go-ahead three with 3:44 remaining in the opening stanza before hitting another pair of treys before the half concluded.
“He was able to find spots and knock down shots,” Terriers junior forward Tyler Scanlon said. “He got more aggressive. We know he can play like that.”
He then began the second half by hitting a jumper as Kostecka slapped his wrist, making the subsequent free throw. Two minutes later, he finished in traffic to eclipse the 20-point mark for the first time this season and hand the Terriers a commanding 46-32 advantage with 13:40 to go.
“You don’t want your season to end,” McCoy said. “My team, they keep telling me, ‘Keep going, J. We need you.’ Just having that aggressive mindset really helps.”
The Greyhounds threatened in the latter stages, but McCoy splashed a dagger catch-and-shoot triple with 1:40 left to put the game out of reach.
“When he is playing at a high level like that, we are tough to beat,” Scanlon said. “We wanted to keep giving him the ball so he could do his thing.”
McCoy was also impressive on the defensive end. The entire night, he dogged Kostecka one-on-one, holding the formidable scorer to just 10 shot attempts, 4.5 fewer than his season average. The Loyola junior was limited to 16 points, a far cry from his nightly average of 21.5 points.
“That’s just being a hooper,” McCoy said. “Just trying to lock up. I always try to take pride in it, especially when you’re guarding the best player.”