PHILADELPHIA – Just over a week after defeating the University of Maryland, the Boston University men’s basketball team traveled to a packed Hagan Arena to take on St. Joseph’s University.
Following a strong effort in the first half, the Terriers (7-6) gave up the lead in the second half, falling to the Hawks (7-4) 73-67.
“Our lack of discipline showed tonight against a team that’s pretty good,” said BU coach Joe Jones.
The Terriers had a bumpy start to the first half, falling behind 5-0, turning the ball over and missing multiple shots on their end.
To jumpstart their offense, the BU looked to one of its senior tri-captains, guard D.J. Irving, who provided some offense with a quick layup to end the Hawks’ initial run.
Midway through the first half after staying close on the scoreboard with the Hawks, BU took a one-point lead off of two free throws from freshman guard Cedric Hankerson.
With 5:33 remaining in the frame, the Terriers held onto a 26-23 lead, with the Hawks threatening to tie the score. In an effort to bring some more energy to his team and give BU some breathing room heading to the half, Jones called for some full court pressure defense. The Terriers’ quickness put them in position to create turnovers, leading to crisp passes and open shots on the offensive end.
BU entered the halftime break with a seven-point lead, getting production all over the court, as eight of the nine players to enter the game for the Terriers scored during the half.
At the end of 20 minutes, senior forward Dom Morris and sophomore guards Maurice Watson Jr. and John Papale led the team in scoring with six points apiece. In the half, the Terriers shot well from the field, hitting 45.5 percent of their shots, while the Hawks shot 42.3 percent.
Looking to keep the momentum going from the end of the first, BU took an 11-point lead following a 3-pointer from John Papale just over a minute into the second half.
Despite building up a sizable lead early in the second half, the Hawks would not go away and went on a 13-2 run. A jump shot from senior Langston Galloway tied the score at 43 with 13:50 left in the half, reigniting the crowd of 4,051 fans in attendance, forcing Jones to call a timeout.
Although there looked to be a shift of momentum towards the Hawks’ side, the Terries were able to compose themselves and regain the lead, holding onto a seven-point advantage with 8:46 remaining in the game.
Over the course of the next seven minutes, however, the Hawks went on a 20-4 run, and the Terriers found themselves trailing 67-58 with 1:03 left in the contest.
“I just think we lacked mental and physical toughness when they made their run,” Jones said. “We didn’t handle it great, which is disappointing because we did a great job against Maryland.”
In the end, BU could not to dig itself out of the hole it created. A combination of poor shooting, turnovers and defensive fouls did the Terriers in during the final stretch of the game.
During the opening half, the Terriers only turned the ball over only two times, while they coughed the rock up seven times in the second. Although the nine turnovers were below the Terriers’ season average of 12.2 per game, the Hawks capitalized on BU’s mistakes in the final half of play, scoring eight points off of turnovers in the second.
“I thought we had a couple guys trying to do too much with the ball and that hurt us, and that’s disappointing,” Jones said.
While the Terriers and Hawks both shot the ball well in the opening frame, the second half saw a drastic change, as the Terriers shot 38 percent on 29 shots, while the Hawks shot 48 percent on 27 shots, while also making 17 free throws.
“We’ve got to stay together when those times come,” Jones said. “We’re a good team, we just got to keep playing together on both sides of the floor and I think we would’ve been in good shape.”