Basketball, Sports

Men’s basketball falls to UConn for second consecutive loss

After missing all of last year due to injury, junior guard Cedric Hankerson leads the team in steals this season. PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAWK/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
After missing all of last year due to injury, junior guard Cedric Hankerson leads the team in steals this season. PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAWK/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The Boston University men’s basketball team dropped its second consecutive game Wednesday night at the hands of the University of Connecticut.

The Terriers (4-3) managed to hold the struggling Huskies (3-4) to a mere 51 points, but they were ultimately done in by their own lackluster offensive performance.

BU’s scoring struggles were the story of the game, as its offense was unable to match the pace of its energetic defense, which forced 13 turnovers.

On offense, senior guard Eric Fanning paced the Terriers despite coming off the bench for the first time this season. The Trenton, New Jersey native totaled 21 points on 7-11 shooting and added nine rebounds.

In addition to Fanning, junior guard Cheddi Mosely also came off the bench for the first time this season, but scored just four points with no assists.

After the game, BU head coach Joe Jones insisted that his hardest working players will be in the starting lineup on a nightly basis.

“We’re going to make sure that the guys that are starting are consistently playing the hardest,” Jones said. “That’s the sole reason [Fanning] wasn’t starting.”

Fanning has led the Terriers offensive attack all year, averaging a team-high 14.9 points per game. Fanning has contributed in other areas as well. He grabs the second-most rebounds per game (5.4) and dishes out the second-most assists (1.7) on the team.

While Fanning has been stellar on the offensive end all year, the Terriers have struggled to receive consistent production from other key players. This hurt BU against UConn, as no other Terrier totaled more than eight points. The Terriers were held to nearly 28 points below their season average of 76.7.

Foul trouble limited one of BU’s other main contributors, as senior forward Justin Alston was held to eight points on 4-11 shooting. However, he played just 26 minutes due to four personal fouls.

Despite their poor offense, the Terriers’ defense gave them a chance in the waning seconds.

Trailing by three points with 30 seconds remaining, Fanning recorded a key steal that gave BU a chance to tie the game. However, freshman forward Tyler Scanlon missed the game-tying shot.

BU shot a season low 3-19 from the three-point line and 18-58 overall. The offensive struggles came just days after shooting 50 percent from the field Monday night against Saint Peter’s University, a game in which the defense struggled, allowing 80 points.

Despite the loss, Jones recognized his team’s resilience and lauded their play down the stretch, closing the gap to two points with five seconds remaining after a Mosely 3-pointer.

“We just kept battling,” Jones said. “We struggled a lot to shoot the ball and score. But you have to attribute that to [UConn’s] side of the rim. Overall, I was proud of the effort we gave.”

Against UConn, BU’s defense stepped up, forcing the Huskies to shoot a mere 32 percent from the field.

Most notably, the Terriers’ defense held UConn sophomore Jalen Adams in check all night. Adams, who scores a team-high 18 points per game, only tallied seven points on 3-15 shooting.

This forced the Huskies to rely on more inexperienced players such as freshman Christian Vital. Vital, who has seen increased playing time in every game for the Huskies this season, logged 36 minutes while recording a team-high 13 points in the win.

“Collectively we did a great job of following the game plan and keeping [Adams] out of the lane,” Jones said. “We did a good job within the zone of understanding what we needed to do.”

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