The Boston University men’s basketball team lost its season opener in dramatic fashion at Northeastern University Friday, falling 65–64 thanks to a last-second 3-pointer by Huskies’ guard Demetrius Pollard.
Terrier fans saw some new faces on the court to begin the game. Second-year coach Joe Jones started the freshmen Maurice Watson Jr. and Nathan Dieudonne at point guard and power forward, respectively.
Friday night’s game started off as any other contest between the Terriers and Huskies with each team scoring after one another.
“[It was a] typical BU vs. Northeastern game … scrappy,” Jones said.
With about 10 minutes remaining in the first half, the Terriers began to break away.
Junior guard D.J. Irving got the team going with scoring by making a fade-away jump shot from the baseline.
Then, it was the sophomore guard Malik Thomas who took over in the first half for the Terriers. After almost losing the lead, Malik Thomas made a layup and then forced a turnover that lead to a slam dunk at the other end to give his team a 31–24 lead with over two minutes remaining in the first half.
One thing that hurt BU during the first half was turnovers. Whether it was in the form of bad passes or poor ball control, Northeastern knew when the Terriers were about to make mistakes. The Huskies took advantage of this and forced eight BU turnovers in the first half. Three of those turnovers came from Watson Jr.
“The size and length of players right now are going to hurt him a little bit until he can get used to it that,” Jones said. “It’s hard to duplicate in practice because we’re not as athletic, big or long. I thought the size with the zone and trying to look over the zone was an issue … They’re things we’ve got to work on.”
Despite these turnovers, BU held onto a 35–26 lead entering the half.
Northeastern began the second half on attack mode as they made multiple attempts to close the nine-point gap that carried over.
For the rest of the half, the teams exchanged baskets, Northeastern having the edge in baskets, slowly bringing down the lead.
Unlike the first half, BU and Northeastern exchanged fouls consistently. Midway through the half, BU was at seven team fouls, which resulted in many free throws for Northeastern.
By the late stages of the game, the Terriers had 20 personal fouls causing a plethora of free-throw opportunities. This allowed Northeastern to stay in close until the very end, which was when Northeastern decided to put the pressure on.
With the game entering the final minute, Northeastern trailed by one. They were able to pull ahead by two but a clutch 3-pointer from Thomas put BU back on top.
With 10.7 seconds remaining and down by two, Demetrius Pollard took the Huskies fate into his own hands and nailed a dagger from behind the 3-point line with 0.7 seconds remaining.
“We wanted to make sure we communicated defensively and that if they took a shot, it was well contested … when [Pollard] got it I thought he was just so open, he’s a good shooter and once it left his hands I just put my head down, it looked good from the start,” Jones said.
Unfortunately for BU, the fraction of a second was not enough for the Terriers to recover, and they walked off the court with their heads down as Northeastern students rushed the court in celebration.
“We have a game Monday against Canisius on Monday night, we’ve got to learn from the things we didn’t do well tonight,” Jones said. “But I’m proud of the guys, I thought they played hard, they competed.”