The Boston University men’s basketball team could breathe a sigh of relief after defeating Coastal Carolina University Wednesday night, 74–44, as the victory ensured it would not go winless in the 2012-13 season.
Prior to their first win of the season, the Terriers (1–5) were on a five-game losing streak that featured three last-second losses and a handful of road losses due to their lack of defensive presence.
“We were poor defensively and that cost us some games early,” said BU coach Joe Jones. “We could say we played a hard schedule, and it was on the road, but those are just excuses … It was more about our defensive effort that we did not have.”
The Terriers opened the season at Northeastern University, where they fell to the Huskies (4–2) by a score of 65–64, courtesy of a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by guard Demetrius Pollard.
BU then traveled to Buffalo, N.Y., on Nov. 12 to play a Canisius University team that was a dismal 5–25 last year. The Terriers did not lead once in the game and lost, 83–75.
Returning home for their first game of the season at Case Gym, the Terriers were hopeful that an energized crowd would help propel them to their first victory of the season. That was not the case, as they would lose their home opener to George Washington University, 72–59.
“I thought we really got hungry after the George Washington game,” Jones said. “We didn’t play well at home at all. That was our worst game by far and I think after that game we began playing with a little bit of a chip on our shoulder.”
BU then went on to lose a heartbreaker to Rutgers University on Nov. 20, 81–79, due to a last-second flagrant foul by sophomore guard Malik Thomas.
BU then suffered a sloppy 48–45 loss to George Mason University on Saturday.
The Terriers staggered home to play Coastal Carolina University (2–4), a team that was averaging 77.6 points per game. The Terriers, who have struggled offensively and are just beginning to develop their defense, were not the favorites entering the contest.
After a sloppy start with numerous fouls and turnovers, the Terriers began to find a rhythm, and at halftime they found themselves ahead of the Chanticleers, 31–18.
Determined to finally get their first win, the Terriers, with contributions from nearly everyone who saw playing time, began draining baskets and playing solid defense. BU translated 23 Chanticleer turnovers into 29 points.
The Terriers’ defense tightened up, got stops and played well in transition. They created easy layups and scored 30 points in the paint against Coastal Carolina.
“It’s funny because that’s what I was telling them early in the year—that if we defend, we can run,” Jones said. “We just have to get stops. That’s the key to us being good.”
Never trailing in the game, the Terriers comfortably put bench players in for the last few minutes and left Case Gym with their first win of the season.
Junior forward Travis Robinson ended the night with 12 points, all from beyond the arc. Freshman guard Maurice Watson Jr. led the team with 15 points, followed by junior guard D.J. Irving with 14 points.
Most importantly, the BU defense was able to stop Coastal Carolina guard Anthony Raffa. Coming into the game, Raffa was averaging 26 points per game on the season, the second highest average in the nation. Against the Terriers, Raffa only totaled eight points in 32 minutes.
Jones said he was proud of the way his team has played thus far, and stressed that urgency is key.
“We have a group of guys that are great guys,” Jones said. “They are really laid back though and it takes me to kind of churn it and keep them motivated. We need to make sure they have that sense of urgency all the time. If we can do that, we can be a very good team.”