Boston University men’s basketball lost 79-74 at home against Navy on Saturday in their last regular season game of the year.
The Terriers (14-17, 7-11 Patriot League) were unable to stop a hot shooting performance by Navy and capitalize on a late comeback. The Midshipmen (11-18, 8-10 Patriot League) won just their second conference road game of the season but their fourth straight game at Case Gym.
“[Today’s loss] was disappointing because I thought we were moving in the right direction,” BU head coach Joe Jones said. “I didn’t think we were sharp, but we were good enough to win.”
Before the game, BU honored Kamali Chambers, the team’s lone senior, in his last career regular season game. Chambers was placed into the starting lineup but did not score in four minutes of play.
“[Kamali] has been an unbelievable teammate,” Jones said. “A lot of guys can talk the talk, but he walked it all year. I’m as proud of that kid as I am of any kid that’s gone through this [program].”
The Mids came out of the gate firing on all cylinders. They started the game 7-7 from the field, and all made-baskets came off assists. Forward George Kiernan had nine early points on 3-4 shooting from the field and 2-3 shooting from behind the arc.
The Terriers were able to cut the lead down to four midway through the first half, but they would never get closer than that.
BU’s defense continued to allow open looks from three and Navy had no problem knocking them down. The Mids ended the half shooting 18-25 as a team and 7-11 from three. Kiernan and guard John Carter Jr. each had two triples and center Evan Wieck led the team with 11 points, including an and-one with four seconds left in the half.
“We haven’t shown what it takes to win at the defensive end on a high level,” Jones said. “Defensively, I don’t know if we don’t focus enough or we don’t own it enough, but we’re just not getting it done.”
Freshman guard Alex Vilarino proceeded to bank in a three as the first half buzzer sounded, but the Terriers still trailed 46-35. Sophomore guard Javante McCoy and junior forward Max Mahoney led the team with 8 points each. BU shot 13-23 from the floor and 4-9 from three, but a few key turnovers halted a chance for offensive consistency.
For much of the second half, the Terriers had a tough time making a dent in their double-digit deficit. Whenever they would score, Navy would come right back with an answer.
However, BU almost broke through in the final moments of the game. Trailing 71-59 with a little over two minutes to go, the Terriers went on a 13-4 run in 90 seconds.
Junior forward Tyler Scanlon made a jumper followed by a Mahoney steal and a three by freshman guard Jonas Harper. Then, after two made free throws by Navy’s Carter Jr., Scanlon hit a three, came up with a steal on the inbounds pass and passed it to sophomore guard Andrew Petcash for the Terriers’ third made triple in 30 seconds.
With 38 seconds left, BU had cut Navy’s lead down to 75-72.
Mahoney forced a jump ball on the next inbound pass, but the possession arrow was not in the Terriers’ favor. The Mids stayed calm and closed out the game with four made free throws, not allowing BU a chance for a late win.
“In the last three or four minutes, when we feel like we’re going to lose, we start to play with unbelievable energy and desire,” Jones said. “[But] we don’t play like that consistently enough.”
Even in the loss, there was a bright spot for one Terrier. With a little over six minutes to go, Mahoney notched the 1,000th point of his BU career. He joins a list of less than 40 players in program history to reach that mark.
Scanlon, who scored 18 points in the defeat, sits at 998 career points after Saturday. Heading into the Patriot League Tournament, he needs just two more points to join Mahoney in the 1,000 point club.
With the regular season out of the way, BU will now look toward postseason play. In the first round of the conference tournament, they will host either Loyola University Maryland or the College of the Holy Cross at Case Gym on Tuesday.
The Terriers are 2-0 against the Crusaders this season and split two games against the Greyhounds.
“We have to be ready to go Tuesday,” Jones said. “We don’t want our season to be over. We can’t hold back.”