University of Hartford head coach Larry Harrison called his team’s 44-42 win against Boston University last night “gutsy.”
Maybe Harrison meant to say clumsy, which would be a better word to describe the blooper reel that unraveled between the Hawks and the Terriers at the Roof last night in BU’s first loss in its last seven games.
Airballs and airhead plays. Turnovers and tumbles. Missed shots galore on both sides. This was a game that BU, and even Hartford, would just as soon forget.
After scoring a season-low 19 points in the first 20 minutes, the Terriers finished with a season-low 42 points for the game. But at least BU won’t be scratching its head today trying to figure out why. The Terriers shot 24.1 percent for the game, and that was up from the first half, when BU shot a dismal 21.6 percent.
And it was somehow worse for BU from the free throw line, where the team missed 9-of-25 attempts, including six in the last nine minutes of the contest that would have easily given the Terriers the win.
“This was not a pretty game, and we were kind of running uphill the whole game,” said BU coach Dennis Wolff. “Obviously, you’re not going to win very many games shooting 24 percent or shooting 56 percent from the foul line. The free throw shooting has been an Achilles’ heel all year, and it really bit us [last night] when we had chances to stretch the game out.”
It seemed as if the Terriers’ pre-game anticipation never wore off last night. BU hurried many of its shots from the floor, often taking the first open look, and never caught a rhythm. In making just eight of its 37 first half attempts, BU never caught a break either.
All seven of BU’s three-point shots missed their mark in the opening period as well. Even when standing at the free throw line, the Terriers looked rushed.
“I thought our guys worked very hard. In a situation like that, you’re not converting either free throws or a number of fast break opportunities where we were almost knocking each other out of the way,” Wolff said. “We needed to play with a lot more poise and a lot more relaxed on offense, and we didn’t. So we got beat.”
Hartford, however, wasn’t much better, and despite BU’s poor shooting, the Hawks actually trailed late in the second half and were fortunate to leave the Roof with a win.
Hartford made only 10 field goals to BU’s eight in the first half, but the team was able to convert on three of its nine shots from beyond the arc. The Hawks went 9-for-24 in the second half and made just one shot in four trips to the free throw line, but they were able to win essentially because the Terriers made barely half of their free throws.
Wolff cited overly speedy fast breaks as one of BU’s biggest downfalls last night, as the Terriers came up empty on several fast break layups and even suffered a failed alley-oop dunk by junior forward Billy Collins from sophomore guard Kevin Fitzgerald.
Wolff said he was worried also about playing in front of a sizable home crowd for the first time since the academic Winter Break.
“It was clearly a case of us trying too hard on offense,” Wolff said. “It’s somewhat of a deflating thing when you’re working so hard on defense and the possessions are hurting like that.”
Harrison chose to look at the game from another angle, saying defense played a larger part than the Hawks’ and Terriers’ droll offensive display.
“I thought defensively both teams really scrapped it up and played hard. Defensively, [BU is] ranked one of the top teams in the conference and so are we. I don’t know if that had anything to do with the bad shooting that both teams exhibited, but I thought it was a hard-fought game on both sides,” Harrison said.
“Fortunately for us, we were able to pull it out at the end.”