The Boston University men’s basketball team fell to American University 69-58 Wednesday night at Case Gym.
The Terriers (9-9, 5-2 Patriot League) have had a surprising yet thrilling start to Patriot League play. After a close loss to Loyola University Maryland earlier this month, BU comfortably won three consecutive games before falling to the Eagles (5-13, 2-5 Patriot League).
While the Terriers played a relatively even first half, it is hard to not acknowledge the role of complacency in this double-digit loss. After three wins against Patriot League rivals, the Terriers appeared to have enough momentum to beat American, one of the league’s poorer performing teams, at home. However, the team seemed to underestimate the resolve of the Eagles.
“Give American credit,” BU head coach Joe Jones said. “They were great tonight. They played hard, they scraped [and] they fought. They deserved to win. They made the plays to win the game.”
Jones noted that his team entered the matchup unprepared.
“We had our worst practice of the month yesterday,” Jones said. “There was no energy yesterday … [and that] was a bad sign.”
Despite this, the Terriers opened the game strong. BU commanded an early lead, which it retained for a majority of the first half of the contest.
However, toward the waning minutes of the first half, the Terriers allowed the Eagles to score 13 unanswered points and surrendered their lead going into the locker room.
BU shot the ball decently, shooting nearly 50 percent (25-for-52) from the floor overall, passed efficiently and restrained the American’s aggressiveness, but was still outperformed in all facets. The Eagles out-hustled the Terriers in the first half, and they went unabated in the second.
BU may have shot the ball better in the second, converting on 55.6 percent of its second-half shots, but that did not neutralize the tenacity of American.
The Eagles repeatedly exploited the Terriers’ failed double-teaming efforts by entering the lane. While American did not score as many points in the paint, it drew numerous fouls, which contributed to its overall 11-for-18 free throw performance.
“We were just lousy,” Jones said. “I was not great, the players were not great. We did not play well as a team today.”
Additionally, the Eagles grabbed some key rebounds and converted several big three-point shots in the final minutes, which sealed their victory.
However, the game was ultimately determined by turnovers.
BU amassed a season-high of 21 turnovers, a few of which came in the deciding moments of the game. What was more alarming was how consistent the sloppiness was, with 11 giveaways coming just in the second half alone.
On the other hand, the Eagles only had 12 total turnovers overall, proving the carelessness on offense as one-sided to the Terriers.
“We turned the ball over too much,” Jones said. “That killed us. For a game at that pace, to have that many turnovers is too much.”
Evidently, Jones was not pleased with his team’s performance. After a series of impressive victories, this loss was a large blow to the team’s momentum.
Yet, there were unseen benefits. BU shot a game total of 48.1 percent from the field, outrebounded American 34-25 and outscored the Eagles 38-32 in the paint. The effort was there, but the direction was not.
The Terriers have encountered difficulties with offensive ball control and defensive rotation before, and addressed them successfully. BU’s next game against the United States Naval Academy on Saturday is a chance to revive such resilience and get its momentum back.
“We shot 55 percent from the field in the second half, [but] still didn’t play well,” Jones said. “That is how good we can be.”