The Boston University men’s basketball team swept the inaugural Steve Wright Classic weekend with three victories on its home court.
The Terriers (3-1) defeated Northeastern University, the University of Maine and LIU Brooklyn on three consecutive days, and BU head coach Joe Jones said it was important for the team to win all three matchups.
“It was a tough weekend playing three games in three days,” Jones said. “We played our arch-rival on Friday night, and then being able to come back yesterday, and then today to come back and play the way we did, it says a lot about the quality of the depth we have. I was really pleased with the weekend.”
In its 65-63 comeback victory over Northeastern Friday night, BU got back on track after its season-opening loss to the Huskies (3-2) the previous Friday night.
Senior guard Eric Fanning (17 points) and junior guard Cedric Hankerson (13 points) led the offensive attack.
“Friday night I was so happy for [Hankerson] because he came into the game and he was balling,” Jones said. “He had great energy and that set the table for the weekend. He looked very strong out there.”
BU did a better job of defending without fouling and limiting 3-pointers, as Northeastern went 17-27 from the free throw line and 8-23 from the 3-point line, respectively, compared with 23-37 from the free throw line and 10-21 from the 3-point line in the first matchup of the season between the two intercity foes.
Thanks to a balanced offensive effort in the first half, during which seven players scored, the Terriers entered halftime with a 39-33 lead. However, Northeastern went on a 24-6 run to start the second half, taking a commanding 57-45 lead with 8:43 remaining in the game.
With 40 seconds left, the Terriers were down 62-59. Junior guard Cheddi Mosely then hit a 3-pointer from the corner while getting fouled to tie the game. He converted the free throw to give his team a one-point lead.
Jones attributed his team’s turnaround following the season-opener against Northeastern to having a healthy roster.
“We had a tough preseason,” Jones said. “We had a lot of injuries. We didn’t get a chance to practice with the full team, and a week before the first game, everybody got healthy, so we only had a week to figure things out. We took some steps a week later and we were ready to go.”
Less than 24 hours later, BU moved to 2-1 with a complete-game win over Maine on Saturday afternoon.
The Terriers defeated the Black Bears (1-3) 102-78, marking the first time in 22 years that the team has scored 100 points in a game.
The Terriers got contributions from several players, as five players scored in double figures: senior forward Justin Alston (16 points), Mosely (15 points), freshman forward Tyler Scanlon (15 points), Fanning (14 points) and freshman guard Destin Barnes (10 points).
On the other end, BU limited Maine’s leading scorer, guard Wes Myers, to just 12 points on 3-of-8 shooting.
The first half was back-and-forth, as Maine led 27-26 with 3:47 left in the opening frame. However, BU ended the half on a 17-3 run, taking a 43-30 lead.
The Terriers continued their run after halftime, outscoring the Black Bears 59-48 in the second half. They led by as many as 34 points at one point, following a corner 3-pointer from junior guard Will Goff.
The Terriers’ strong play carried over into Sunday evening, when they defeated LIU Brooklyn 86-69.
BU beat LIU Brooklyn behind consistent offense and active defense, shooting 50.8 percent while holding the Black Birds (3-1) to 39.3 percent and forcing 11 turnovers.
Fanning and Hankerson once again led the offense, chipping in 13 and 19 points on 6-of-10 and 6-of-14 shooting, respectively.
On the other end, freshman Jashaun Agosto and redshirt senior Jerome Frink led LIU Brooklyn’s offense, tallying 15 and 14 points, respectively.
BU raced out an early 26-10 lead in the first 12 minutes of the game, but LIU Brooklyn’s offense came together after falling in the 16-point hole, as it scored 15 points in the next six minutes, cutting the deficit to nine.
However, the Terriers ended the final two minutes of the half on a 10-3 run, taking a commanding 44-28 lead into the break.
The Black Birds attempted to come back, but never threatened, as the lead never dipped below 14 points.
“The home crowd was awesome,” Jones said. “They did a great job on Friday night and helped us get the win. It was just a special weekend all around, and I think our guys rallied around that Terrier spirit.”