Men’s Basketball: BU overcomes slow start, routs Northern Illinois in Jacksonville Classic

Javante McCoy, Sukhmail Mathon and Daman Tate high five in a Nov. 16, 2021 game against Northeastern University. The Terriers defeated Northern Illinois University Sunday in their first matchup of the Jacksonville Classic. HANNAH YOSHINAGA/ WTBU SPORTS

By Mitch Fink

A balanced and efficient offensive performance propelled Boston University men’s basketball (3-2, 0-0 PL) to a 76-58 blowout victory over Northern Illinois (1-3, 0-0 MAC) in the first round of the Jacksonville Classic on Sunday afternoon in Jacksonville, Florida. 

After the Huskies took a 17-13 lead midway through the first half, BU stormed back with a 17-0 run to take a double-digit lead and control of the game. From there, the Terriers never looked back.

BU held a ten-point advantage at the half and led comfortably the rest of the way to capture the victory.

Guard Javante McCoy led the way for the Terriers with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting and seven assists, but BU’s scoring came from a variety of contributors. 

Each of the Terriers’ starters — McCoy, senior forwards Fletcher Tynen and Walter Whyte, senior guard Jonas Harper and center Sukhmail Mathon — finished the game with at least 10 points, and junior forward Nevin Zink came off the bench to add 11. 

The performance marked the first time since 2013 where six Terriers reached double-digit point totals. 

The Terriers found the most success playing in transition — BU scored 15 points off turnovers to Northern Illinois’ six, and eight fast-break points to the Huskies’ one.

BU shot 75% from the field in the second half and over 56% for the game, while knocking down 39% of its three-point attempts. 

Junior guard Ethan Brittain-Watts returned to the lineup for the first time in three games, providing more depth in Coach Joe Jones’ backcourt. 

Sunday’s matchup with Northern Illinois marks the second time BU has faced off against the Huskies — the first contest between the two teams took place over 20 years ago in 1999. 

With the victory, the Terriers will advance to play Sam Houston State on Monday at 1:30 p.m. in the championship game of the JAX bracket in Jacksonville.