By: Ethan Fuller
BOSTON, MA — The 92-77 final score says that Boston University men’s basketball handed Loyola University Maryland another drubbing. The updated standings, with BU sitting at 6-3 in the conference and 12-10 on the season and Loyola at just 1-8 in Patriot League play (9-13 overall), highlights the talent differential between the two teams.
But Joe Jones, Max Mahoney and Javante McCoy all ranged from indifferent to disappointed in the team’s performance — especially on defense.
“We just had too many guys walk into the game not ready to play,” Jones said. “We weren’t a team tonight.”
“Especially on the defensive end,” said Mahoney, “we did not execute how we should have. We did not play how we wanted to play defensively.”
The Greyhounds shot a blistering 55 percent from the floor in the second half. Guards Jaylin Andrews and Isaiah Hart attacked the paint and found quite a few easy scoring chances. At one point BU led 78-57; then an 11-0 Loyola run nearly brought the game back to single digits.
“They’re a very patterned team,” Jones said, “and our guys could understand the pattern [last time] and we could see things coming and anticipate things, and tonight [the Greyhounds] were playing faster. I thought it would catch us off guard a little bit, but we just didn’t get enough focus and effort from the collective group.”
“A lot of people get the W and think only about the W,” said McCoy, “but there are still a lot of things we gotta work on, especially defensively.”
While BU struggled on defense, the offense — for the most part — was humming. Every Terrier in the sub sheet except for Andrew Petcash got on the scoreboard. The team shot a strong 53 percent from the field, and their 92 points is the highest offensive output from the Terriers all season.
Leading the charge was senior Mahoney, who put up 29 points and 10 rebounds on the evening. Mahoney has been banged up in the past few contests, and he took a few shots from physical interior players Golden Dike and KaVaughn Scott. But physicality is just part of the game for the 6-8 forward.
“Loyola’s a really physical team; they always are, and I knew that coming in,” said Mahoney. “I just focus on playing my game, not worrying too much about the physicality or how I’m feeling — just doing what I can to win the game.”
Javante McCoy also played one of his best offensive games all season. The junior scored a season-high 24 points and added five assists, as he has become the chief playmaker for the Terriers this season. McCoy also shot out of a recent slump, making multiple three-pointers for the first time since a January 8 matchup against Lehigh.
“The moment I start overthinking my percentage, you get inside your own head,” he said. “I just know what I’ve been capable of. It felt good — I’ve been working.”
BU will have to bring an equal level of intensity on defense this coming Saturday when they take on a historically tough Bucknell team. The Bison had a rough start to the season but have gone 5-4 since starting conference play. The two sides will square off in Lewisburg at 2:00 p.m.
Addressing Kobe Bryant
Of course, this was the Terriers’ first basketball game since the tragic loss of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the seven other passengers on board the helicopter that crashed outside Los Angeles.
Like millions around the world, the BU basketball community saw Bryant as an inspiration. Case Gym featured a moment of silence before the game for the nine people on board the helicopter. Some Terriers wrote messages on their shoes.
This is what Jones, Mahoney and McCoy said about Bryant, his legacy and the team’s dealings with the tragedy.
Jones: “We talked about it. Like most people, it hit home. It’s something that affected all of us in different ways. He was an icon and someone that kids idolized growing up. My guy was Magic Johnson, and so if that were to happen to Magic Johnson I would have felt a certain way being 19, 20 years old.
The other part of it is that there were seven other people that died, and their families were affected, and there were young people that passed away. We had a moment of silence in practice, but I know the guys were heartbroken; there were guys that were emotional when that happened.”
Mahoney: “Obviously what happened was just tragic. Myself and everyone on my team grew up shooting in the driveway, shooting in the park, wanting to be Kobe. Just what he represented for the game of basketball: hard work. We’re growing up and I see this guy win ring after ring after ring, and I’m thinking, how does he do it? He always talked about his Mamba Mentality. Even outside of that, you know, raising a family.
“He was what a lot of basketball players wanted to be, so for our community to lose him, especially in that fashion, it was really hard for a lot of us. It’s tough to move on. Legends never die. Kobe’s legacy will live on, whether it’s through his family or the basketball community.”
McCoy: “His legacy means everything to me. I grew up watching him play, I grew up trying to mimic his game, especially when I was young. I used to always sit in the driveway, especially after one of his games, and mimic a move he did, a game-winner, stuff like that. But just outside of that — his impact, his Mamba Mentality — I think that contributes to everything in life. And that’s just what I’ve been reminding myself.
“My dad always tells me Kobe mindset, Kobe mindset. Whatever you want, just go get it — there’s nothing stopping you. If you don’t get, you just beat yourself. Obviously it was tough, but he’s just watching over us now.”
Featured image by Hannah Yoshinaga.