The Boston University men’s basketball team, powered by an offensive resurgence from junior guard Cedric Hankerson, got back in the win column Wednesday night after a rough week.
Hankerson was a crucial cog in the Terriers’ (11-10, 6-3 Patriot League) 90-89 overtime win over the United States Military Academy Wednesday night at Case Gym, scoring a team-leading 13 first-half points.
“I’ve seen our team with some confidence, and this was a good game,” said BU head coach Joe Jones. “We’ll play better and we’ll play more consistent. Going in now, we need to play more consistent basketball and I think we’ll be able to do that.”
While Hankerson starred in the first half, it was senior guard Eric Fanning’s performance that made the difference, as he scored a season-high 32 points to propel his team to victory.
Although Fanning provided the main heroics, it was players like Hankerson and freshman forward Tyler Scanlon whose play was enough to put the Terriers over the top. Scanlon had his own career-high with 17 points, including going 4-for-6 from 3-point range.
“First of all, he made shots, but he had five rebounds,” Jones said of the freshman. “He did a better job on defense. I just think overall he did better and impacted the game in other ways than shooting, and I told him that was going to happen.”
Scanlon’s most impressive shot came in the overtime period with BU down 79-77 to the Black Knights (8-13, 2-7 Patriot League). Fanning found Scanlon open in the corner and the freshman rewarded BU with a 80-79 lead. The Terriers never lost the lead from that point on, although they almost managed to blow it.
Coming into the night, BU had dropped its last three Patriot League games after starting the conference season 5-0. Hankerson’s lack of production had put BU at a disadvantage during the losing streak.
In the past three games, he had gone 3-for-24 from the field, shooting at a 12.5 percent clip. His 10 percent shooting from the 3-point range during those games was even worse. He has made by far the most shots from behind the arc this season, converting on 35 percent of them.
“He played with some juice tonight,” Jones said. “He had three assists, five rebounds, and that’s the type of game he should be playing. Too many times if he wasn’t shooting the ball then he wasn’t assisting or he wasn’t rebounding. To me that’s the thing we have to get him back to doing, just being an all-around player, which he’s capable of doing.”
The game against Army seemed to revitalize Hankerson, as he made several 3-pointers with a hand in his face and was 3-for-5 in the opening half. Army had trailed the Terriers for the entire half, but threatened to overtake them several times. With 4:19 to go in the half, a layup by freshman Tommy Funk sliced the Terrier lead to four. However, a perfect pass from junior guard Will Goff found Hankerson in the corner to boost the lead back up to seven.
Though Hankerson was quiet for the rest of the game, his contributions elsewhere on the box score proved he was moving in the right direction. After three consecutive, difficult losses, the Terriers seem to have found a launching point to start back up.
“They were happy — we hadn’t won in a while,” Jones said. “We had three games last week, and we couldn’t muster up a win. The Bucknell game was a tough one because we felt like we played really well for about 35 minutes and let that slip away. At Loyola [Maryland] we didn’t have a great start, and the Colgate [University] game after having a great game we kind of just fell apart, so tonight it was good to get back on track.”