Basketball, Sports

Men’s basketball drops home contest to Army

Freshman Kyle Foremena left the game with an ankle injury, furthering BU's troubles. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Freshman Kyle Foremena left the game with an ankle injury, furthering BU’s troubles. PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Missed shots and missed opportunities — that’s what Tuesday night’s contest between the Boston University men’s basketball team and the United States Military Academy came down to.

BU (17-13, 10-7 Patriot League) held the Patriot League’s second-best scoring offense to under 45 percent from the field and battled with the Black Knights (18-11, 9-8 Patriot League) on the glass, but it wasn’t enough, as Army escaped Case Gym with an 80-71 victory.

Junior guard Eric Fanning led the way for BU with 20 points, sophomore guard Cheddi Mosely added 18 and sophomore forward Nick Havener grabbed 15 rebounds.

“I thought if we made a few more shots, we could have controlled the game more,” said BU head coach Joe Jones. “If you’re missing shots, you can’t change up your defense. You can’t slow them down, and they come back at you.”

Senior guard John Papale went just 2-for-9 from the field, freshman point guard Kyle Foreman was 1-of-6 before going down with an ankle injury and Havener missed all seven of his field goal attempts on the night.

“I think we battled tonight, and at the end, we just didn’t make shots that we usually make,” Fanning said. “I think we were in the perfect situation to win the game. Some balls just didn’t bounce our way, and we ended up taking a [loss].”

The Terriers went back and forth with the Black Knights for all 40 minutes, never letting Army post a double-digit advantage. After Army started the game on a 7-0 tear, BU found the attacking presence it was missing Sunday afternoon against Bucknell University, driving at the basket and working for high percentage shots to keep within striking distance.

Sophomore guard Eric Johnson, who saw the court for the first time after missing 11 straight games, provided a spark off the bench, nailing three spot-up 3-pointers in the first half.

“We’ve just been saying, ‘It doesn’t matter who is in there, let’s just go,’” Jones said. “That’s kind of been our attitude. We haven’t really thought about it a lot. We’ve just been going with it. If [Johnson] gets in there and he’s open, he’s knocking it down.”

Through the strength of its defense, which limited the league’s best offensive rebounding team to four offensive boards in the first half, BU trailed just 42-39 at the interval.

“The thing that’s been inspiring to me is that they’ve shown a great level of resiliency,” Jones said. “That’s the thing I love about this group. They just keep coming at you.”

While BU maintained the same defensive effort in the second half, the Terriers posted one of their worst offensive halves of the season, shooting 28.2 percent from the field in the second frame.

And after BU battled to cut the deficit to 56-52, the Terriers were dealt a huge blow when Foreman crumpled to the ground with an ankle injury.

Despite their shooting woes and the loss of Foreman, the ever-resilient Terriers hung with the Black Knights and took a one-point lead with 7:55 remaining, but simply couldn’t make enough shots down the stretch to come out with the win.

“[Kyle is] usually there for us in those clutch moments,” Fanning said. “We need a guy like Kyle, who is experienced in those moments to be on the court. When he’s not on the court, it really hurts us.”

With the Terriers having to play two games in a little over 48 hours, Fanning acknowledged the role that fatigue played Tuesday night.

“It wears you down,” he said. “I can’t lie and say I’m fine the whole game. We’re just battling. That’s all we’ve got to do.”

Still, Fanning and Jones both maintained confidence in saying that the Terriers will be a formidable force when Patriot League Tournament play begins, no matter who takes the floor.

“I think we can win every game,” Fanning said. “It doesn’t matter how many people we have … We’re just going to battle, no matter who is on the court. We’re just going to keep battling. Unfortunately, we didn’t win this one, but we’ll be ready Saturday for Holy Cross.”

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Jackie is a sports reporter for The Daily Free Press and has previously served as Managing Editor and Associate Sports Editor of the FreeP. At this moment, she's probably watching Shark Tank and thinking of ways to work, "and for that reason, I'm out," into casual conversations. Please send all inquiries in the form of a box combo from Cane's with no coleslaw and extra fries or follow her on Twitter at @jackie_bam

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