Maybe it was the 10-day layoff. Maybe it was poor shooting. Maybe it was just Harvard University.
The Boston University men’s basketball team turned in a dismal performance last night against Harvard, a 76-60 loss that saw the Terriers hit just 34.4 percent overall from the field. The Crimson, on the other hand, were red-hot throughout the night, shooting the lights out from all over the court en route to 26 field goals.
Harvard’s 54.2 percent clip from the floor marks the second straight game in which BU has allowed an opponent to make over half its shots. The first was the Terriers’ last contest — and their only previous loss — a 92-76 grudge match against George Washington University Nov. 25, when the Colonials sank 53.6 percent of their attempts.
After starting out on fire, going 3-1 after four road games, BU was colder than the December air outside Harvard’s Malkin Athletic Center last night.
The reason, in part, could possibly be that the Terriers’ momentum was grinded to a halt by a road block in the form of a 10-day layoff early in the season.
“It’s just the way the schedule fell, and I’m not going to use that as an excuse,” said BU coach Dennis Wolff. “I don’t want to take away from the way Harvard played. We were anxious to play, but it would have been better in retrospect if we had had another game, but we didn’t have one in between, and that’s the way it falls. Again, I don’t want to take anything away from Harvard. They deserved to win.”
“The way Harvard played” was generally without mistakes, especially in a spectacular offensive first half for the Crimson. With three minutes gone in the first half, the Terriers were knotted at 5 with the Crimson, and all early indications pointed to a close contest.
Then it began to rain three-pointers. Back-to-back-to-back treys by Harvard put BU down 18-7 with just over 14 minutes to play in the first. The Crimson then rattled off a 14-2 run to go up, 29-9, but the worst news of all was that not even a quarter of the game was played at that point.
With 4:44 left in the first, it was 38-18 Harvard. By the four-minute mark, it was 41-21, and with a minute left before halftime, the Crimson were in cruise control, 45-27, before the first closed out with the Terriers down, 48-30.
Harvard drained 18 of its 28 first half shots (64.3 percent) and was 8-of-12 from three-point land. BU was 4-for-9 from beyond the arc and from the free-throw line — not its best numbers. Add making just 11-of-27 in the first half, and it’s safe to say the buzzer that ended the first half was music to the Terriers’ ears.
“They shot great in the first half,” Wolff said. “They had us back on our heels. They were hitting threes in transition. We did a poor job of finding the right guys, and we got ourselves in a huge hole.”
If BU was digging its own hole by shooting poorly, Harvard guard Elliott Prasse-Freeman was happy to finish the rest of the job. Prasse-Freeman was Crimson’s first-half catalyst, nailing 5-of-6 three-point attempts for a team-high 15 points.
“Presse-Freeman in the first half killed us and I thought the rest of [Harvard’s team] played smart and together,” Wolff said.
“They definitely had more zip than we had tonight, that was obvious from the beginning. Why that is, I don’t know.”