Men’s Basketball: Backcourt showdown ends in Terrier victory

By: Hannah Yoshinaga

In spite of Army’s second-half surge, the Boston University men’s basketball team held on to beat the Black Knights 80-66 for their fourth straight win. 

After building a 34-23 lead heading into the break, the Terriers (14-10, 8-3 PL) had trouble getting stops on defense for the remainder of the game. BU allowed Army (11-11, 6-5 PL) to shoot 61 percent in the second half, but still outscored the Black Knights 46-43. 

The Terriers looked much stronger on the offensive end. Junior point guard Javante McCoy was BU’s leading scorer with 20 points. McCoy has scored at least 14 points in four straight games, the longest such streak of his career. 

Senior center Max Mahoney and sophomore forward Walter Whyte also had strong all-around games. Mahoney’s 13 points seem modest considering that he averaged 21.7 points per game in BU’s last three contests, but he made five of seven shots and tacked on seven rebounds. Whyte scored 12 points and added six rebounds and three assists. 

Even more impressive were the quality minutes the Terriers got out of their bench. BU’s bench outscored Army’s reserve unit 27-3. 

Junior guard Andrew Petcash sank three of his four shot attempts from beyond the arc for nine points. Petcash has struggled to deliver consistently at times, but when he does hit, his prolific shooting can transform the Terriers’ perimeter offense. 

Although he did not enter the game until five minutes into the first half, freshman point guard Ethan Brittain-Watts took control of BU’s playmaking, freeing McCoy and Whyte to focus on scoring. Brittain-Watts dished out a team-leading four assists. 

The Terriers’ backcourt production terrorized the Black Knights, but BU struggled to defend Army’s guards as well. 

Tommy Funk, who was named Patriot League Player of the Week on Monday, presented a challenge for the Terriers. Funk played all 40 minutes and finished with 24 points, six assists, and four rebounds. Lonnie Grayson made only three shots but still logged seven points and seven rebounds. 

Mahoney and junior forward Sukhmail Mathon had trouble keeping things under control in the paint as well. Army forward Matt Wilson scored 24 points and grabbed 10 boards. 

BU’s defensive struggles have been evident for the past couple of weeks. The Terriers have struggled to plug driving lanes and limit easy layups, countering their usually effective three-point defense. The team suffocated Bucknell last week, but that game is sandwiched between two less-than-stellar defensive efforts versus Loyola Maryland and Army.

Next up for BU is a home matchup against Holy Cross on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. While the Crusaders by no means have the best offense in the conference, the Terriers will have to put forth better effort on defense to stop Joe Pridgen. The Crusaders’ young star has been named Patriot League Freshman of the Week seven times and does not look to be slowing down anytime soon. 

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