In its final home game of the regular season, the Boston University men’s basketball team (20-10, 11-6 Patriot League) defeated Lafayette College (10-18, 7-10 PL) 76-60 behind a strong second-half showing.
“I think our defense sparked our offense,” head coach Joe Jones said postgame. “We were able to get some stops and push the ball, and I thought that really helped us.”
The Terriers trailed by two points at the half, and struggled to get easy points inside, scoring only six points in the paint compared to the Leopards’ 14.
Jones said Lafayette did “a good job keeping [us] out of rhythm,” switching between both man-to-man and zone defenses and coming out of the huddle with a press.
“Sometimes when people change in defense, you can overthink stuff and then you’re not really playing aggressively,” Jones said.
In response, the Terriers tried to get the ball to the foul line and swing it around the perimeter, all while planting someone in the corner to spread their zone out.
Throughout the game, Jones said BU was “way too loose, lackadaisical with the ball.” The Terriers struggled to hold on to the ball, giving up 17 turnovers and allowing Lafayette 15 steals.
The Leopards had a strong showing with their starters, who scored 31 of their 33 points on 12-for-25 shooting in the first half.
Through the second half, BU slowly extended their lead, getting more good looks while shooting 62.5% from downtown and 67.9% from the field.
Jones said part of their adjusted second-half defensive plan was to try to make things difficult for junior center Neal Quinn, who shot 4-for-5 in the first half and ran many ball screens for Lafayette.
“We just [tried] to change up how we were guarding [guard Tyrone] Perry on the ball screen,” Jones said. “We just try to go over and then under him [on screens] so then Quinn couldn’t couldn’t get good position at the rim and I thought that was a big adjustment for us.”
Graduate student forward Sukhmail Mathon finished with a double-double (10 points and 13 rebounds) while also limiting Quinn to 1-for-4 shooting in the second half alongside freshman forward Malcolm Chimezie.
Graduate student guard Javante McCoy turned up the heat in the second half, scoring 15 points in the half and leading the team overall with 24 points for his seventh scoring performance of at least 20 points this season.
“He just kind of saw seams and took advantage of it,” Jones said. “If we’re going to be really good, he’s a guy that’s got to be able to do both. He’s got to be able to score it and he’s got to be able to distribute it.”
The Terriers also received help from off the bench, with 13 points from junior guard Ethan Brittain-Watts, two steals in ten minutes from sophomore guard Miles Brewster and eight rebounds from Chimezie.
“We felt like we had more guys that we could play that we could depend on,” Jones said. “I just thought those three guys were really able to help off the bench.”
With the win, the Terriers have secured the third seed in the Patriot League playoffs, and will look to continue their success in their last game of the season against Bucknell on Saturday.