By: Dylan Woods
BOSTON, MA — Boston University men’s basketball nabbed their first win of the 2019-20 season, defeating SUNY Polytechnic Institute in a 91-63 rout led by Walter Whyte..
Still, head coach Joe Jones saw this win as anything but a walk in the park. He knows that the team is nowhere near its finished product and still has a long way to go.
“I thought we played well for maybe half the game,” he said. “The other half, we didn’t play with focus [and] we didn’t play as hard. We played really sporadic. We weren’t consistent.”
To start the game, BU fell behind 11-7 behind some hot shooting by SUNY Polytechnic forward Josh Gregory. The Wildcats’ leading scorer had seven points in the first few minutes as they took advantage of some early BU misses.
However, they had no answer once BU forward Walter Whyte started to unleash his basketball prowess. From the moment he stepped on the court, Whyte was the best player within a 50-foot radius.
After making his first three of the game, the sophomore knocked down another triple — plus the foul — entering the under-16 media timeout.
By the time the Terriers took the lead at 18-13, Whyte had hit another three to give him 14 of the first 18 BU points. On one defensive possession, just when many thought things couldn’t get easier for Whyte, the ball found him in the back of the head for an easy steal. Whyte picked it up and ran down the court, finishing the effortless layup.
For the remainder of the first half, the Terriers continued to shoot the ball well from distance and force turnovers, increasing their lead to an insurmountable figure.
Along with Whyte, who shot 3-4 from long range and 5-6 from the floor for 16 points in the first twenty minutes, junior Andrew Petcash made all three triples that he attempted in the first half.
“I thought [Petcash] came in and really gave us a lift,” said Coach Jones. “He gave us a lift defensively [and] made some hustle plays that turned into good things offensively.”
Petcash also came up with one of ten first half turnovers by SUNY Polytechnic. From the seat of his pants, he found freshman Ethan Brittain-Watts who drove for a nifty and-one layup in transition, further increasing the growing lead.
By the time the first half was approaching its end, the Terriers had turned this one into a blowout. At the break, BU led 51-25 and was well on their way to their first win of the season.
The Terriers more or less waltzed through the second half for the easy 91-63 victory. Gregory finished with 17 points to lead the Wildcats, but no one else caused BU too much trouble until the score was out of hand.
Whyte would finish with 23 points to lead his team. After missing the entirety of last season with an injury, he has lead the Terriers in both games to start the season.
“It feels amazing [to be playing],” Whyte said after the game. “This is what I love to do. I’m excited every time I step on the court.”
At the same time, Walter isn’t gettting carried away after the strong start. “I’m just playing within the offense,” he said. “If [the defense] goes under screens, I gotta shoot the ball. I gotta attack, make plays for others, that’s just how I’ve been playing all year. It’s just been working out in my favor.
“[Today’s game] was not atypical of what he has been doing,” said Coach Jones of his young forward. “He’s a terrific player…He did a lot of good things.”
Max Mahoney added 12 points on an efficient 5-8 shooting and Suk Mathon led all bench scorers with 12 points as well.
Coach Joe Jones was especially proud of Mathon for his strong performance. “[Suk] is someone that has worked really hard on his game,” he said. “He practices pretty consistently, has a good motor, he’s a guy that you pull for to do well.”
From here, BU will travel to Vermont to face the Catamounts on Wednesday at 7:00 P.M. In what will be their toughest competition to date, the Terriers get their best chance yet to assess how they stand in the young season.
“It’s going to be a great environment [at Vermont],” said Coach Jones. “We’re excited for the opportunity.”
Featured image by Ethan Fuller.