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Men’s basketball blows out Gordon College to win home opener

The Boston University men’s basketball team took on Gordon College in their home opener at Case Gym Friday night, looking to rebound after starting the season with a loss on the road at the University of Rhode Island. The Terriers (1-1) did so in dominant fashion, with an 85-61 win over the Fighting Scots (0-1). 

This game marked the first home matchup with fans and the Pep Band present since March 8, 2020, when the Terriers faced Bucknell University in the Patriot League Tournament semifinals. 

Senior guard Fletcher Tynen running with the ball in a basketball game against Gordon College Friday. The Terriers secured an 85-61 victory over the Fighting Scots in their home opener at Case Gym. MOHAN GE/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

BU head coach Joe Jones said the atmosphere impacted his squad, and while it was enjoyable to return home with fans, his players ultimately became too distracted by the environment. 

“It was good to be home. It was good to feel like we were in our gym,” Jones said in a postgame press conference. “But we were caught up in that. There’s no doubt about that.”

In the first 10 minutes of the game, BU and Gordon went toe to toe with each other, as both teams were giving up early turnovers and struggling to get going from the floor.  

Near the midway point of the first half, both squads began to heat up and the Fighting Scots again coughed up the ball, which turned into a dunk from senior guard Walter Whyte with 9:25 left in the half. 

BU continued to have success shooting, as Whyte drained a 3-point shot on the Terriers’ very next possession.

Whyte ended the night tied for second in team scoring with grad student forward Sukhmail Mathon, with both scoring 13 points. Whyte also tallied five rebounds and two assists, while Mathon recorded a team-high 14 rebounds.  

As the opening half came to a close, both teams continued to shoot well. But Gordon continued to struggle with turnovers, which allowed the Terriers to take control of the game. Whyte continued to propel the squad in scoring during the first half, as he jammed home another dunk with 26 seconds left, allowing BU to take a 45-32 lead into halftime.

At the end of the first half, the Fighting Scots went 12-for-28 from the floor, good for a field goal percentage of 42.9%, but they could not keep up with the Terriers, who had a 58.6% field goal percentage after shooting 17-for-29.

Jones said his defense was not as locked in as he would have liked them to be and also praised the Fighting Scots for their shooting ability, as they were led in scoring by sophomore forward Michael Makiej and junior guard Garrett Sattazahn, who scored 14 and 11 points, respectively. 

“[Gordon] was taking us off the dribble. We had a hard time guarding them off the bounce, as well as guarding the 3-point line,”  Jones said. “We were bad tonight defensively. We were not talking at all.”

Although BU came out in the second half with a double-digit lead, the Fighting Scots kept pushing and cut the deficit to six points at the 14:03 mark, as the Terriers struggled to convert free throws, aiding Gordon’s run.  

The Terriers struggled with foul shots in their season opener against Rhode Island as well, going 15-for-23 from the charity stripe against the Rams, good for a conversion rate of 65.2%. BU fared worse against the Fighting Scots, as they made only 54.5% of their free throws by going 12-for-22 from the line. 

Jones said he recognizes his team’s foul shot struggles but is confident the issue will work itself out as the season progresses. 

“It’s something that we’ve got to continue to work on,” Jones said. “I think we’ll be fine eventually, but we’ve got to get past this, and sometimes it becomes a little more mental than it needs to be.”

Despite a strong effort from their opponents, BU managed to retake control of the game due to the play of grad student guard Javante McCoy, who led the team in scoring with 19 points and also tallied four assists. 

McCoy scored eight points within the last 10 minutes of the contest and said sticking to what the team has practiced and its principles allowed him to shoot well. But he agreed with Jones that the Terriers were not completely focused at the start of the game. 

“We practice this every day. We put up a lot of reps,” McCoy said in a postgame press conference. “We were kind of in our heads at the beginning, not really playing together, and it showed.”

BU will go on the road Tuesday night against Northeastern University, with tip-off set for 7 p.m. at Matthews Arena.  

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