In the first round of the 2019 Patriot League Tournament, sophomore guard Javante McCoy exploded with a career-high 30 points to help lead the Boston University men’s basketball team to a 71-63 defeat of Loyola University Maryland on Tuesday night at Case Gym.
BU now advances to the quarterfinal round of the 2019 conference tournament to face No. 1-seeded Colgate University in Hamilton, New York Thursday.
“Javante was terrific tonight,” BU head coach Joe Jones said. “He’s a heck of a player, … and he’s getting better.”
The 6-foot-5-inch, 180-pound guard performed well in the first half with 15 points behind his three 3-pointers, and he kept it going in the second half by scoring 15 more points.
“We wanted to keep getting him the ball so he can do his thing,” junior forward Tyler Scanlon said, “and he really capitalizes getting hot, and we were able to get him the ball and keep that fire going.”
McCoy said after the game his playstyle reflected Jones’ mentality.
“I was just trying to be aggressive,” McCoy said. “Coach said play loose, play your game and be aggressive, so that was my mindset going into the game.”
BU (15-17, 7-11 Patriot League) launched the evening with a 14-7 run after back-to-back baskets from Scanlon. With the first of the two field goals, Scanlon became the 38th Terrier to score 1,000 career points.
Loyola Maryland (11-21, 7-11 Patriot League) tied the game at 23-23 with 4:51 remaining in the first half, but McCoy led the charge with two 3-pointers during the Terriers’ 8-0 run that started after Loyola tied.
The Greyhounds looked to overtake the momentum when a steal-and-slam by All-Patriot League First-Team guard Andrew Kostecka cut the BU lead to one possession, but McCoy’s third 3-pointer of the half would save the Terriers, and BU entered the half with a 34-30 lead.
“I thought we had a level of toughness tonight that we hadn’t shown,” Jones said. “I’m proud of how hard our guys played. We controlled the game with our half-court defense.”
After forcing nine turnovers and keeping Loyola to 30 points in the first half, the Terriers improved their defensive efforts in the second half, holding the Greyhounds to 13-of-32 shooting, or 40.6 percent, in the second half.
“Collectively, we were more focused for the majority of the game,” Scanlon said. “During other games, we would go through stretches of minutes when we were unfocused. Today, we would have a play or two when things went wrong, and we snapped right back into it.”
Loyola center Casmir Ochiaka’s basket helped the Greyhounds be the first team to get on the scoreboard in the second half, but the Terriers quickly responded and extended the lead with 14 unanswered points, capped off by back-to-back layups from McCoy.
“It was just quality offense matched with some intense defense,” Scanlon said. “When you play hard, play together, things work out your way.”
From here, the Terriers would not let their lead slip. They would not let the Greyhounds get any closer than within five points of tying the game. The final score would be 71-63, with the Terriers topping Loyola by eight.
The Terriers will travel to Hamilton, New York, to face the first-seeded Colgate Thursday. The two teams split the series in the regular season, but Colgate guard Jordan Burns was unavailable during the Terriers’ Feb. 2 win.
“We’re up to the task if we can defend,” Jones said. “We’re as good as anybody offensively in the league.”
Scanlon said the Terriers are capable of taking on any team.
“There are no unbeatable teams,” Scanlon said. “The league has a lot of parity, and we feel like we can compete with anybody.”