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Terriers have trouble with first-half defense in losses to Canisius, GWU

In its past two games, the Boston University men’s basketball team started slowly, allowing its opponents to build an early lead and control the game.

“We need to come out and play aggressively, but smart,” said BU coach Joe Jones. “The last two games, in the start of the game, we just weren’t aggressive defensively and we get on our heels.

“We need to get up and play guys much harder, and we are not doing that right now.”

On Nov. 11 BU (0–3) visited Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y. The Terriers were out-muscled and out-hustled by the Golden Griffins early on, and faced a nine-point deficit four minutes into the game. BU played from behind the entire game and never took the lead.

A few days later, in their home opener against George Washington University (1–1), the Terriers were outplayed in the first half once again.

As a team, BU missed its first three 3-point field goal attempts and shot only 9-of-30 from the field in the first half.

George Washington shot 15-of-26 from the field and had a 57.7 3-point shooting percentage.

The only lead BU had came off a lay-up five seconds into the game. The Colonials then went on a 10–0 run and the Terriers quickly found themselves in another deficit. BU failed to get on a run and found itself down big at the half, 37–23.

Jones said he believes the slow starts are the result of poor defense early in games.

“We have to be consistent from the start,” Jones said. “We need to come out and be ready to go. We did not play well early in the game, and a lot of it was defense.”

Against Canisius and George Washington, BU did not start playing well until the second half, but at that point it was too late.

In the matchup with the Golden Griffins, the Terriers cut the lead to three, but lost momentum from there, dropping the game 83-75.

Later that week, against George Washington, the Terriers had ample opportunities to come back in the second half, but their chances were squandered by unnecessary fouls and missed open shots. For most of the second half, the Terriers were consistently down 10 or 11 points and could not chip away at the Colonials’ lead.

On the other hand, both Canisius and George Washington came out of the locker room on fire.

Canisius, proving it is better than its 5–25 record last year, opened its season against BU and quickly used its size to overpower the Terriers. Despite significant struggles from the free throw line, the Golden Griffins scored 83 points in their win.

Colonial forward Isaiah Armwood made life difficult for the Terriers in the paint. Armwood, a transfer from Villanova, registered a team-leading 12 rebounds and also had an astonishing eight blocks.

“Armwood just changed the game with his ability to block shots,” Jones said. “A lot of the shots that we would get at the rim, usually against kids that can’t change shots like that, are going to go in.”

Offensively, junior guard DJ Irving was virtually non-existent for the Terriers. He shot 3-of-15 from the field and only 2-of-6 on free throws.

Freshman guard Maurice Watson Jr. hit only 2-of-10 on field goals.

The Terriers are 0–3, and Jones said the Terriers will likely not start winning until the defense is fixed.

“Losing is not easy,” Jones said. “We have to find a way to get better and it starts with defense.”

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