By Mitch Fink
Boston University men’s basketball (6-3, 0-0 PL) ground out a 56-54 victory over George Washington (2-7, 0-0 A10) on Wednesday night in Washington D.C., marking the team’s fourth win in five games.
For the third consecutive contest, the Terriers played in a game that came down to the wire. This time, it was key defensive stops and clutch free-throw shooting that gave BU the narrow edge.
Guard Javante McCoy and center Sukhmail Mathon each poured in 17 points, leading the Terriers to their first-ever road win against George Washington. The Terriers had lost their previous 11 away matchups with the Colonials.
BU shot just 3-of-11 from three-point range but opted to play through Mathon in the low post instead of jacking up long-range attempts.
The strategy worked — BU outscored George Washington 32-24 in the paint and Mathon was able to knock down hook shots, draw fouls or kick out to open shooters if the defense collapsed on him down low.
McCoy enjoyed another strong performance as the anchor of BU’s backcourt. The veteran hit timely shots throughout the game and calmly knocked down four critical late-game free throws to maintain the Terriers’ advantage.
BU’s roster has stepped up in the absence of key forwards Walter Whyte and Nevin Zink, both of whom have missed time recently due to injury.
Although the Terriers have lost depth — and considerable talent — in the frontcourt without Whyte and Zink, their absences have opened up an opportunity for younger players to gain valuable playing time.
Freshman forward Malcolm Chimezie and sophomore guard Miles Brewster have emerged as productive rotation players for BU since Whyte and Zink have been out. Brewster started against George Washington, posting nine points, three rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes while Chimezie came off the bench, corralling seven boards in 11 minutes on the floor.
The Colonials posted an early 13-0 run in the first half and led by eight points at the end of the period, but the Terriers bounced back quickly after the break. A 5-0 run to start the second half brought BU within striking distance, and the Terriers took their first lead of the period with 12 minutes to go in the game.
The match remained close until its final moments.
With under a minute remaining, BU inbounded the ball with a two-point lead and control of the game.
But McCoy promptly turned the ball over with 22 seconds to go, giving George Washington a chance to tie or take the lead.
The Terriers forced a series of missed shots in the waning moments of the game, sealing the victory at the buzzer.
George Washington junior guard James Bishop led all scorers with 23 points, and senior forward Ricky Lindo Jr. added 5 points and 11 rebounds.
The Terriers will travel home to take on Binghamton at Case Gym on Saturday at 1:00 p.m., where they’ll look to keep things rolling as conference play inches closer.