Basketball, NCAA, Sports

Men’s basketball loses to Bucknell, looks to playoff matchup with Loyola Maryland

Although graduate student guard Javante McCoy tore up the Bucknell University defense for 23 points, three assists and four rebounds, the Boston University men’s basketball team (20-11, 11-7 Patriot League) fell short in a 89-78 loss to the Bison (8-22, 5-13 PL).

“It was probably one of our worst games that we played all year in terms of offense and defense,” said head coach Joe Jones. “We gave up more points than we did at any point this year and took more contested shots probably than we did all season.”

Bison junior guard Xander Rice led his team with 19 points, 11 of which came from the free-throw line. Bison senior guard Andrew Funk, who leads Bucknell with 17.7 points per game this season, was limited to 15 points. 

Jones’ defensive game plan coming into the matchup was focused on forcing Funk to be a facilitator of the basketball rather than a scorer. “We knew he’s a pretty good passer, but we wanted other people to have to play,” Jones said. 

Although Jones believes his team did a good job at limiting Funk’s scoring opportunities, he didn’t see much else to praise on the defensive side of the ball. 

“We didn’t really have an attitude defensively,” Jones said. “We didn’t impact the game.” 

Even though the Terriers couldn’t finish the season with a win, they still placed third in the Patriot League heading into the conference playoffs. BU will face off against Loyola University Maryland in the first round of the Patriot League playoffs.

The loss against the Bison does not shake Jones’ confidence in his team moving forward. 

“As long as we have that focus that we’re going to defend together and share the ball together, I feel good about our chances,” he said.    

Reflecting back on a 20-win season, Jones acknowledged his team, like every team in competitive sports, experienced their fair share of ups and downs. 

He also praised the team’s improvement since the Terriers’ first game back in November. 

“I think offensively and defensively we’ve gotten better,” Jones said. “We are really one of the better offensive teams in the league, and besides [the game against Bucknell], we were becoming one of the better defensive teams.” 

BU split its regular-season series with Loyola Maryland, falling 66-58 on Jan. 7 at Case Gym before avenging the loss with a 67-50 victory over the Greyhounds in Baltimore on Jan. 19. 

The Terriers will be tasked with stopping Loyola Maryland junior guard Cam Spencer, the leading scorer in the Patriot League with 18.6 points per game. Spencer has notched 19 points in each of the Greyhounds’ matchups with BU this season. 

The Terriers will tip off against Loyola Maryland Thursday night at Case Gym.

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