Following their short break for the holidays, the Boston University men’s basketball team traveled down to Orlando, Fla., to play in the University of Central Florida Holiday Tournament. There they continued their nearly two-decade trend of losing in-season tournaments.
The other teams in the tournament included the Belmont University Bruins, University of Central Florida Knights and Howard University Bison.
The Terriers (6–7) were playing a solid first half against the Bruins (9–3) Friday night. Midway through the half, the teams were tied 13–13. The winner would take on the Knights Saturday night in the tournament’s championship game.
Then the Bruins started to capitalize on BU turnovers and fouls and the score grew rapidly. By halftime, the Terriers found themselves behind, 40–24.
For nearly 14 minutes in the second half, BU was fighting back as best it could, and it was succeeding. At the 13:11, Belmont only lead by five. But their comeback attempt fell short.
“Last five minutes we couldn’t score. I felt we didn’t have any energy after using a lot coming back,” said BU coach Joe Jones.
In the final five minutes, BU shot 0-for-6 while Belmont hit its shots and transformed what once was a five-point lead into a 16-point victory, as the Bruins beat the Terriers, 64–48.
“I thought we played great defense, we played hard,” Jones said about the team’s loss. “The big thing is that they are a good team. They did a good job of stopping us. [Junior forward] Dom [Morris] getting into foul trouble hurt us. It was a combination of those two things that did us in.”
Saturday afternoon, redemption presented itself in the form of a consolation game against the Howard University Bison (3–12).
Whatever anger or disappointment the team had going into Saturday’s game, it laid it out on the court from the very start.
BU won the tipoff and went right at the basket to start off the game, as Dom Morris missed a layup. Within five minutes, the Terriers were able to jump out to a 11–2 lead.
The Terriers did not look back following their great opening. They won the game easily by a score of 71–44, their second largest win of the season behind their 30-point victory against Coastal Carolina University.
Junior forward Dom Morris, who was not a big factor during Friday’s loss because of foul trouble, was BU’s leading scorer against the Bison. The co-captain had 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists and a block.
Meanwhile, junior guard and co–captain D.J. Irving, who has been an instrumental player for the Terriers this season, had 14 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Sophomore guard Malik Thomas had a quiet, but solid game with 11 points, seven rebounds and a block.
With the win, BU finishes its 2012 non–conference schedule with a 6–7 record. This is the first time the Terriers enter America East play with six wins since their 2004-05 campaign.
“We haven’t had a non-conference record like this since 2004,” Jones said. “We wanted to stay strong in our non-conference season. We feel like we’ve learned a lot. Going into conference play, we’re confident. Now we can play like an experienced team rather than a young team.”