The Boston University men’s basketball team fell short, 75-70, in a tightly-contested Patriot League matchup against the College of the Holy Cross, which escaped the Jan. 31 game with its fifth win of the 2021-22 season.
Despite winning just two of their last 10 games, the Crusaders (5-15, 3-5 Patriot League) managed to snap the Terriers’ (15-9, 6-5 PL) four-game winning streak.
“We had to be better to win,” head coach Joe Jones said postgame. “It wasn’t the worst game that we played, but not up to the level that you have to have to be consistent and win consistently.”
The Terriers led the Crusaders 36-33 at the end of the first half, but were not able to capitalize on their halftime lead.
During halftime, Jones emphasized his original gameplan of heavily guarding on-ball screens and blocking gaps to prevent the Crusaders from having clear lanes to the basket. Although the Terriers improved their on-ball screen defense in the second half, Jones said Holy Cross’ ability to drive the ball into the paint “really hurt us.”
Jones was critical of his team’s defensive effort. Crusader freshman guard Kyrell Luc led all players with a season-high 24 points, despite the Terriers’ best efforts to limit his offensive attack.
“[Luc] was terrific tonight,” Jones said of the Crusader star. “We had a hard time containing him.”
With Luc leading the charge offensively, the Crusaders were able to shoot an efficient 59.3% from the field.
On the other side of the ball, graduate student guard Javante McCoy led the Terriers with 18 points. Graduate student forward Sukhmail Mathon finished second in scoring for the Terriers with 14 points, despite only scoring four points in the first half.
Mathon also led all players with 10 rebounds, earning him his twelfth double-double of the season.
“Overall, I just thought their activity and energy level was way higher,” Jones said of the Crusaders.
Jones praised the Crusaders defensive effort and cited their 10 blocks as a reason why the Terriers struggled offensively. “That was one of the things that led to 41% [shooting] from the floor,” he said.
According to Jones, the poor effort during the game was reflective of the team’s practice on Sunday prior to the matchup.
“We had some guys take their foot off the gas,” Jones said. “I thought that impacted the level of purpose we were practicing with. ”
Rather than fixating on one element of the game to improve, Jones said the team’s mindset and how they approach the rest of the season is vital to the success of the team.
“I think the whole thing is just trying to get better,” Jones said. “Coming in with an intention of getting better, of the team getting better, and me contributing in any way I can so the team can get better.”
The Terriers will travel to face Patriot League rival Lehigh University (8-14, 5-4 PL) on Saturday at 2 p.m. as they look to get their 16th win of the season.