Basketball, Basketball, NCAA, Sports

Men’s basketball drops third-straight to Howard after second half struggles

The Boston University men’s basketball team fell to the Howard University Bison 64-53, marking the third-straight loss to open the season. 

Former guard Walter Whyte during the Boston University men’s basketball game against Lehigh University on Feb. 25 last season. The Terriers have lost all three games to start this season. BRENDAN NORDSTROM/DFP FILE

Following a double-digit loss at Rutgers University that saw no Terriers (0-3) score double-digit points, head coach Joe Jones’ squad came out aggressively to physically impose their will on the Bison (2-2). BU looked to play through sophomore forwards Otto Landrum and Nico Nobili, getting the ball to the post and creating offense from there.

Howard tried to get their points early on with a barrage of threes. Twelve out of their 26 field goal attempts in the first half were from beyond the arc. Eventually, the Bison began to attack the rim and draw fouls, which kept them within striking distance despite shooting 19% from the field in the first half. 

The Terriers once again suffered a free throw deficit during the entire match, something that has nearly become a common theme throughout the first three games.

“[The Bison] got to the foul line. That really hurt us,” Jones said. “When they got into the paint, if they didn’t score, they were able to get to the foul line.”

During the first half, Nobili shined in not only scoring the ball but also dishing out dimes from the post when the defense collapsed.

Nobili finished with nine points on 3-7 shooting and added three rebounds along with a team-high five assists. One of those assists came with just over two minutes remaining in the half. He received the ball at the top of the key and darted a pass to a cutting freshman forward Matai Baptiste, who finished with a nice layup inside. 

The first 20 minutes saw 12 lead changes. The Terriers went into the locker room up 24-23.

BU started the second half with higher intensity and a press that led to turnovers by Howard on consecutive possessions. Offensively, the team attempted to create open looks by driving and forcing the defense to collapse, but the threes did not fall like they did in the first half with the team going 2-14.

“We missed layups, our guards missed layups, our bigs missed at the rim and we missed wide-open threes,” Jones said.

After Baptiste hit a step-back shot to put the Terriers up five, Bison graduate student forward Seth Towns went on a personal 8-0 run to put his team up 37-36.

Picking up on their opponents’ inefficiency from deep, Howard started alternating between man and 2-3 zone, daring BU to hurt them from the outside. 

Down the stretch, junior guard Bryce Harris, who leads his team with 18.5 PPG, joined Towns in the scoring parade. Harris led all scorers with 19 points on an efficient 7-13 and grabbed nine boards.

With two and a half minutes left in the game, graduate student guard Jelani Williams took a tough fader as the shot clock expired, which banked in and sealed the win for the Bisons.

As this young and inexperienced Terriers squad will look to flip the page, Jones said he knows what the team needs to work on but remains optimistic about the future.

“It’s harder just to go do it. It’s easy to say, ‘Hey guys, we gotta play hard without fouling,’ but [we] have a lot of guys that haven’t played before,” Jones said. “This is a team that I think can come around as time goes on.”

BU will come home for their first game at Case Gym against Bryant University on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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