Men’s Basketball: Terriers Lose to Holy Cross On Game-Winner

By Luke Scotchie

Cover Photo Credit: Stevie Potter

A game-winning buzzer-beater from Holy Cross (10-18, 7-8 PL) junior guard Bo Montgomery at Hart Center on Wednesday handed Boston University Men’s Basketball (12-16, 5-10 PL) its second straight loss, 71-69.

With less than two seconds left to play in the game, Montgomery was able to get past several BU defenders and get a shot up and over senior guard Miles Brewster just before the final buzzer sounded.

“Tough game,” BU Head Coach Joe Jones said. “But proud of the way our guys played.”

Graduate wing Walter Whyte led the Terriers in scoring, with 17 points off 8-for-19 shooting from the field. He also contributed 10 rebounds, seven of which were on defense. Senior guard Jonas Harper followed just behind Whyte, finishing with 16 points off 6-for-12 shooting from the field.

Going into the game, the Terriers’ primary focus was to play as tight defense as they could against two of Holy Cross’s most lethal scorers, freshman guard Will Batchelder and senior forward Gerrale Gates. Despite the loss, Jones believes that BU’s defensive efforts worked. 

“The two guys [Batchelder and Gates] we wanted to contain, I thought we did a pretty good job on,” Jones said. “If you told me that ‘Batch’ got nine points and Gates got 12 points, I thought we’d be in a position to win. And we were.”

That winning position was not apparent at first. After the Terriers got out to a 14-4 lead early in the first half, Holy Cross clawed their way back to take a 32-31 lead at halftime. Holy Cross’s efficient shooting (60%) from behind the 3-point line in the first half sparked their comeback, while BU made just 3 of their 13 (12%) attempts.

“Obviously we were 4-for-21 from three,”  Jones said. “We didn’t shoot it well. They were 7-for-14 for the game.”

BU did not find much success from three in the second half, only making one of eight more attempts. That unsuccessful shooting performance gave Holy Cross the opportunity to extend their lead by 15 points with a little over 14 minutes left in the game.

But the Terriers did not give up. Smarter shot selections and stronger defense allowed BU to slowly chip away at Holy Cross’ once-massive lead, enough to bring the game to a tie at 69 points with two minutes and 14 seconds remaining.

“Our guys just started making some plays,” Jones said when asked what type of adjustments his team made.

In addition to a more auspicious offense, Jones believed that changing their defensive strategy played a key role in their comeback. 

“We started mixing up our defenses, throwing a bunch of different things at them, because we were having a hard time guarding them,” Jones said. “We played some zones, that helped us, and then we were blitzing inside; and then on the perimeter we got some steals and some turnovers and I thought that kind of got us back on.”

Both teams shared the lead for the last two minutes of the game, switching it back and forth after each position. Freshman forward Otto Landrum was the most impactful to the Terriers’ refusal to concede, putting up multiple shots, blocks, rebounds and stops to keep Holy Cross from sealing the game away.

“He had a great game,” Jones said of Landrum. “He was outstanding.”

Landrum continued his outstanding game all the way to the penultimate play of the game, when he blocked a layup from Montgomery that would have won the game. The ball went out of bounds on that play, and officials concluded that it was last touched by Landrum. 

The play was reviewed to make sure that the officials got the call right, but no angle seemed to provide an answer. They declared that the footage provided was too inconclusive to make a proper judgment, so the call stood. Holy Cross got the ball on their side of the court, setting up Montgomery’s buzzer-beater with only 1.7 seconds left to play.

As the buzzer went off, Montgomery’s teammates surrounded him in celebration. The Terriers could only watch in awe. However, Jones views this game and his team’s effort in a positive way, even though the result was not what he had hoped for.

“I thought this was one of our better games,” Jones said. “I thought we struggled in the second half to score, but I thought it was one of our better games.”

The Terriers will return to Case Gym on Saturday, where they will play Bucknell University at 1 p.m.