By: Ethan Fuller
It took 39 minutes and 14 seconds for Boston University men’s basketball to wrestle a lead from Lafayette College on Sunday. But after trailing by as many as 14 points, BU (7-7, 1-0 PL) slowly clawed back to win their first conference game of the season, beating the Leopards (8-4, 0-1 PL) 73-72.
Jonas Harper’s clutch three-pointer with 14 seconds to go finally put the Terriers out in front for good. The sophomore guard splashed the shot right in front of the BU bench, and the defense made a big-time stand on Lafayette’s final possession to pull off the comeback.
Senior Max Mahoney led the way on the scoreboard for the Terriers, again putting up an efficient 20 points on 8-9 shooting to go with nine rebounds and two steals. Mahoney went toe-to-toe with the depth of the Leopards’ big rotation and could not be stopped.
Three other Terriers landed in double figures. Walter Whyte, in his second game since removing the mask, scored 12 points and made the crucial bucket that put BU in front for the first time at 70-69. Harper scored 12 as well, all coming from his four made three-pointers. And Javante McCoy, in his second consecutive game coming off the bench for BU, scored 11 points.
The Terriers were two radically different squads separated by the halftime break. In the first half BU shot 42 percent from the floor and only 23 percent from beyond the arc, struggling to get in an offensive rhythm. But out of halftime, BU found its shot, the defense buckled down and the comeback was on.
The Leopards used a barrage of threes to try and stave off the run. Lafayette shot nearly 43 percent from downtown. But outside of four scorers who all reached at least 14 points — Justin Jaworski, Lukas Jarrett, Kyle Stout and E.J. Stephens — the Leopards struggled to find other help.
A key mid-half 9-0 run by the Terriers brought the score from a 62-53 deficit to a tie ball game. From there, both sides battled in the closing minutes. Mahoney was everywhere late in the game; he scored four points, registered the steal that led to Whyte’s critical layup, and dished out the game-winning assist to Harper.
Now on a four-game winning streak, the Terriers have displayed a stunning turnaround in clutch performance. BU started the season 0-4 in games decided by five points or less, including three straight close losses during their five-game skid. With their recent games against Dartmouth, Merrimack and now Lafayette, the Terriers have won their last three tight contests.
Next up for BU is a road matchup with American University (4-8, 0-1 PL) on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. American is coming off a loss to Patriot League powerhouse Colgate University. The Terriers will look to push their current win streak to five with a big win in D.C.