Even though it was able to defeat the University of Maryland-Baltimore County for its third straight victory Saturday afternoon, the Boston University men’s basketball team came out with a lack of effort and preparedness that disappointed BU coach Joe Jones.
“Whether the Albany game, the overtime win, the emotional win at Albany had anything to do with it, who knows,” Jones said. “But the bottom line is we did not come out with the energy that it takes to be a great team—that’s what we are striving for and we didn’t do it tonight.”
UMBC (4–16, 2–5 America East) entered the contest with a less-than-spectacular record, but Jones understood that it was not a team to be taken lightly. Earlier this year, despite its lack of a consistent offense, UMBC was able to open its game against Hartford with a 20–0 run.
The Terriers’ (11–10, 5–3 America East) lack of concentration and effort was apparent immediately. UMBC opened the game on a 7–0 run in which the Terriers botched an inbound pass that opened the door for a quick 4–0 lead for the Retrievers within the first thirty seconds.
BU only had a lead for 29 seconds during the first half and entered the locker room down by one, 32–31. BU, having the highest 3-point shooting percentage in the America East (38 percent), went 0-for-9 from behind the arc in the first half.
“I know when my guys aren’t tuned in,” Jones said. “As soon as the game started I knew this was going to be a long one. Anyone can play bad, anyone can lose a game, but to not be mentally ready, that’s not good.”
In the second half, BU played lackluster defense, allowing UMBC to shoot 59.4 percent from the field. Luckily for the Terriers, UMBC played equally as poor defense, allowing BU to shoot a strong 61.3 percent in the second half.
BU clearly was not making shots from behind the 3-point line, but junior forward Dom Morris picked up the slack in the paint. Morris had 19 points, while the Terriers picked up 46 points in the paint as a team.
“I think there are times when we just don’t give [Morris] the ball enough,” Jones said. “There are times where we need to run our offense through him more. We want to have a better mix … I just want to see the floor spread so these guys can use their talents.”
The spread offense worked for the Terriers in this game, as they had six different scorers put up double-digit points in the contest. Getting contributions throughout the lineup was a key to BU’s improved second half.
Trying to mix things up allowed the Terriers to defeat the Retrievers in an ugly game, but the effort and intensity BU displayed against the University at Albany was not present against UMBC.
A team as young and inexperienced as the Terriers is prone to not taking a team seriously enough, Morris said
“We don’t have a lot of older guys, most of the team is freshmen,” Morris said. “When you are a freshman you play a lot of games so mentally you start to wear down … Sometimes its difficult getting the younger guys, the freshmen, to stay focused. I sometimes think we are too relaxed.
“Right now we are a little complacent but in practice we will pick it up.”
Despite the lack of intensity, BU defeated UMBC 81–75. The Terriers will look to increase their energy and intensity on the court as they move forward.