Three wins. Six days. One hundred fifty minutes.
Few combinations of words could better describe the Boston University men’s basketball team’s season-best three-game winning streak (tying a string the Terriers pieced together in late November), which has seen six overtime sessions in its last two games at Case Gymnasium.
Following a resounding 81-64 win against Binghamton University on Saturday, the Terriers eclipsed Stony Brook University, 99-97, in a quadruple overtime instant classic and rebounded last night with an 80-77 double overtime victory against the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (8-10, 2-4 America East).
Junior guard Corey Lowe scored a team-high 26 points and was a major reason why the Terriers (9-9, 4-2) were able to fight their way to another overtime win. UMBC senior forward Darryl Proctor led all scorers with 27 points – 25 of which came in the second half and extra sessions.
Prior to the game, BU coach Dennis Wolff said fatigue wasn’t an issue given the proper amount of rest the Terriers had before tipoff.
But after last night’s 50-minute affair?
‘I would say right now fatigue’s an issue,’ Wolff said. ‘I think fatigue was an issue in the second half. You’ve got to credit our guys because they could have caved in and didn’t two games in a row.’
Despite playing with understandably tired legs, the Terriers survived watching their 19-point second half lead melt away. It’s the first time in three seasons BU has shown such resiliency and to have such results occur back-to-back in the middle of what’s arguably the toughest stretch of the schedule (physically, at least) speaks to the character of the team.
For the second time in as many contests (and as many multiple overtime games), Lowe summoned the strength toward game’s end to execute gritty plays and push BU to victory.
‘All of a sudden, I just get enough energy to put myself above the other team out there. I feel confident that as the game goes on, I get stronger, especially scoring-wise,’ Lowe said.
Though dormant (attributable to exhaustion) for the majority of the second half, sophomore forward John Holland (18 points, 9 rebounds) hit a 3-pointer at the start of the second overtime that seemed to energize BU. Holland played 104 minutes in the two games.
‘I’m tired, man,’ Holland said with a grin. ‘In the overtimes, it was like, here we go again, and you’re tired. But it is what it is. You’ve got to keep on playing and keep on shooting even if you’re not hitting.’
‘Corey Lowe and John Holland are terrific,’ UMBC coach Randy Monroe said. ‘They’re fun to watch and two great players in this league. There’s no question about it, they’re two all-league players.’
The Retrievers – who benefitted from having senior point guard Jay Greene (10 assists, 1 turnover) back in the lineup after missing a game with a concussion – were able to slowly trim BU’s 39-22 halftime lead before tying the game on a 3 by Matt Spadafora (14 points) with 1:11 left. A hook shot by Proctor again knotted the score with nine ticks remaining.
The differences during UMBC’s comeback were Proctor, rebounding (BU held a 22-10 halftime lead, but ended up with a slim 41-36 margin) and fatigue.
Proctor was held to two points in the first half, but torched the Terriers as UMBC chipped away at BU’s seemingly comfortable lead, attacking the basket from a number of angles – along the baseline, posting up and fade-aways from the perimeter.
Countering the exceptional play of one powerful forward was the performance of another – junior forward Scott Brittain, who had the best game of his season. Brittain (18 points) executed and finished a variety of moves in the low post and hauled in a season-high nine rebounds for the second consecutive game.
‘The better I play, the more confidence I’m going to have. If I have a couple missed shots, it’s going to take a toll on me,’ Brittain said. ‘You’ve just got to try and come back the next game and keep working, but I think the last few games helped build my confidence.’
With the Terriers up by two with 15 seconds remaining in the second overtime, Holland – the team’s best free-throw shooter, hitting 81.3 percent from the line this season – missed twice from the charity stripe. That was followed by 1-of-2 from the line by Spadafora before Wolff was able to sink the eventual game-clinching free throws.
UMBC had a final chance, but Dennis Wolff elected to foul Greene rather than give the Retrievers an opportunity at a 3-pointer (like the one SBU’s Muhammad El-Amin hit to send Monday’s game into OT). Greene missed the first, intentionally missed the second, and the game ended with a scramble under the basket and a missed put-back attempt by junior forward Justin Fry.
BU has one game remaining (Sunday against Maine) in its four-game stretch of endurance.
If the Terriers were to win?
‘I think we would wake up Monday morning feeling pretty good about the week we just had,’ Wolff said.
Game Notes: With his four 3-pointers, Corey Lowe tied BU’s all-time record for 3s made in a career with 202. His next triple will forge him past Mark Daly (1988-92) for first on the all-time list. ‘hellip; The game marked the second time this season BU played back-to-back overtime games. BU is 3-1 this year in OT. ‘hellip; With the win, the Terriers upped their all-time edge over UMBC to 10-5. ‘hellip; Scott Brittain had a season high in points with 18, two shy of his career high of 20. ‘hellip; Matt Wolff hit a 50-footer at the end of the first half that’s now BU’s longest shot all season. ‘hellip; BU was 0-of-11 from beyond the arc in the second half ‘-‘- the first time all season BU has gone a half without making at least one 3.