By: Dylan Woods
BOSTON, MA — Boston University men’s basketball opens their season against rival Northeastern on Tuesday night in the two teams’ first matchup since opening night just a season ago.
This time, it will be the Huskies taking the short drive over to Case Gym looking for a little revenge.
In last season’s tip-off, BU made a late rally and pulled off the upset on a last second game-winning shot by Tyler Scanlon. This year, however, they will face the Huskies without Scanlon after the senior transferred to Belmont this offseason.
Still, BU opens the season with plenty of reasons to feel optimistic. Senior center Max Mahoney will look to improve upon his strong third season. With his spot on the Preseason All-Patriot League First Team secured, expectations are high.
Additionally, a large group of freshmen that played large roles in their first college basketball action are now a year older. Point guard Alex Vilarino (21.6 minutes per game in 2018-19), guard Jonas Harper (also 14.6 minutes), and Fletcher Tynen (13.4 minutes) are all sophomores and candidates to take a leap.
BU could also get a boost in the backcourt from now-junior Javante McCoy and in the frontcourt from sophomore Walter Whyte. After a promising freshman season, Whyte missed all of 2018-19 with an injury and is just now working his way back.
On the Northeastern side, the Huskies will be without last year’s leading scorer Vasa Pusica. The star guard graduated this past spring and is now playing professionally for VL Pesaro in the Italian League. Fifth-year senior Jordan Roland, the team’s second-leading scorer last season, would be a prime candidate to step up for them in place of Pusica. Roland was named to the preseason All-CAA second team.
In the big picture, this is a chance for Joe Jones’ squad to start out the season with a second straight win over a competitive cross-town team.
While things certainly didn’t work out the way Jones wanted after a 1-0 start last year, every new season is a new opportunity. With an expected step up for BU this year, there would be no better way to start the season than showing Northeastern who’s boss in this part of town. The Terriers will look to assert themselves against the Huskies tomorrow at 7:00 p.m.
Featured image courtesy of Greg Levinsky.