Behind graduate student guard Javante McCoy’s 26-point performance, the Boston University men’s basketball team (21-11,11-7 Patriot League) defeated Loyola University Maryland (14-16, 8-11 PL) 76-64 in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League tournament.
“[McCoy] was just able to make plays and kind of put us on his back a little bit in the second half when we struggled to run offense,” BU head coach Joe Jones said postgame.
McCoy shot 11-for-14 from the field and was aided by graduate student forward and Patriot League Player of the Year Sukhmail Mathon, who notched his 17th double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Senior guard and forward Walter Whyte also finished with 19 points and 6 rebounds, shooting 8-for-10 from the field, including a clutch three-pointer to ice the victory with less than two minutes to play.
“I think [Mathon] and [McCoy], if we can get Walt kind of consistent, those three guys are pretty hard to guard,” Jones said.
Still, the Terriers faced strong adversity in the contest. BU struggled all night to defend Loyola Maryland junior guard Cam Spencer, who led all scorers with 28 points.
“We knew what they were going to do and we still had a hard time guarding them,” Jones remarked.
Luckily for the Terriers, Spencer did not have as much support around him as McCoy did.
Loyola Maryland’s next leading scorer, senior guard Kenneth Jones, had only 11 points. The Greyhounds shot 47.3% from the field and 17.6% from three. The Terriers, on the other hand, shot 63.8% from the field and 42.9% from three.
The Terriers were locked in a back and forth battle with the Greyhounds throughout most of the first half.
BU was down 22-21 with 8:22 remaining in the first half, but would never trail again in the game after retaking the lead. The Terriers finished the half on a 16-6 run, with McCoy accounting for 10 out of the 16 points, including a pretty ankle-breaking turnaround jumper that brought Case Gym faithful to their feet. The Terriers went into halftime leading 37-28.
“I did notice that I saw the whole crowd standing up and that was a great feeling,” McCoy noted. “We got a lot of people in the gym supporting.”
The Terriers continued to roll during the second half. Whyte picked up where he left off with a three to start the half. The Terriers were able to break the Greyhounds 2-3 zone and force them into a man defense, which allowed the Terriers to space the floor with their shooters.
Loyola fought valiantly until the end, causing the Terriers to make a few mistakes against the Greyhounds’ full-court press, but BU was able to hold off any attempts of a Loyola comeback.
The Terriers will travel to Annapolis, Maryland on Sunday to take on the second-seeded Navy Midshipmen at 4 p.m. BU fell short in both of its matchups with Navy this year.
“It’s really going to come down to how well we defend and rebound,” Jones said. “Are we willing to kind of put it all on the line and play with the level of toughness you need to play with on both sides of the ball, because they’re going to make it hard.”