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Terriers explode to hot start on the road

It just may be the start of a new era.

Last season, the Boston University men’s basketball team began the season 0-5, and it was all downhill from there. This season, the Terriers have exploded out of the gates, taking two of three games over their Thanksgiving road trip to jump out to a 3-1 start on the season.

The Terriers dropped their first game of the season yesterday to powerhouse George Washington University, 92-76, in the championship game at the Red Auerbach Colonial Classic in Washington, D.C., before squeaking by Quinnipiac University, 66-60, in the first round Saturday.

And just before that, BU stopped off in Virginia and delivered a poignant 55-54 win over Liberty University Nov. 21 to improve to 2-0.

Before the Terriers even left for the Colonial Classic, BU coach Dennis Wolff said he wanted his team to have the opportunity to play George Washington, a consistent, high-caliber team. BU got the matchup it wanted after dismissing Quinnipiac, but couldn’t keep George Washington from winning its seventh straight championship in the seven years it has held the tournament.

The Terriers did give the Colonials a run for their money, making 48 percent of its shots in the first half (14-29) and hitting 11 of 24 from three-point land. BU went blow-for-blow with George Washington in the second also, scoring only two fewer points than the Colonials in the second half, but the Terriers weren’t the only ones with hot hands.

The Colonials shot 53 percent from the floor overall, including going 14-for-26 from long distance, to scorch the Terriers’ hopes of a comeback. The 14 three-pointers set a program record for the Colonials. Freshman forward Ryan Butt came through for BU with 19 points and six rebounds, both team-highs, while sophomore forward Paul Seymour and sophomore guard Matt Turner chipped in with 17 points each.

BU found itself in a grudge match with Quinnipiac in the opening round Saturday, and only led by one entering the half, 31-30. The Braves broke away early in the second to take a 41-35 lead, but the Terriers responded and an 8-0 run put them up 43-41. BU led the rest of the way, as Quinnipiac shot just 33 percent from the field and shot poorly from the free-throw line (73 percent).

The victory gave BU something it hadn’t seen since the 1985-86 season under head coach Mike Jarvis — a 3-0 start to a season.

Tuesday’s narrow win against Liberty may have been BU’s sweetest of all. Last season, Liberty escaped with a win at The Roof on an improbable off-balance, buzzer-beating three pointer. In the first rematch between the two squads since then, the Terriers made sure they would return the favor.

The Terriers came out on fire against the Flames, gaining a 38-23 lead going into halftime. But BU allowed Liberty to slip back in late in the contest, and flashes of last season’s debacle emerged.

Seymour drained two free throws with just under 13 seconds left in the game to give the Terriers a slim 55-52 lead. There would be no sour ending to this one though, as the Terriers allowed Liberty to charge downcourt and score a meaningless two and BU walked away with the win. Seymour scored a game-high 19 points, 15 of which came in the first half, and freshman forward Jason Grochowalski added 14.

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