Featured image by Jacob Ireland
By Brian Foisy
Sophomore BU guard Ben Roy weaved through defenders with ease, looking for his open teammate, junior forward Malcolm Chimezie. Roy dished to Chimezie, who took notice of a wide-open paint with defenders parked on either side, and soared towards the rim.
Slamming down the ball, Chimezie gave the Terriers a 41-point lead with four minutes to play, putting the exclamation point on a blowout win for Boston University men’s basketball (2-4) against an overmatched Vermont State University Johnson (1-6).
Sunday’s matinee matchup between the Terriers and their Division III opponent was by no means a fair fight, but the 90-49 BU win gives the inexperienced Terriers a confidence boost early in the season.
“Winning any game is a positive,” BU head coach Joe Jones said postgame.“Hopefully, we can carry over that positive good feeling going into our next game.”
The blowout win included a career night for senior guard Miles Brewster, who scored 14 points, and for Chimezie, who scored 17. Chimezie was playing in his second game of the season after missing the first four due to injury.
Chimezie said postgame that he knew it was going to be a good game after his first few points.
“[When] you get like a layup or a dunk, it kind of gets you going for the rest of the night, and the rest of the night just happened, but it was definitely after those first two or three points,” he said.
Despite the caliber of the opponent, Chimezie felt there was a lot to still be learned from the win, specifically the value of sticking to defensive principles.
“[Jones] wants us to focus on doing the right thing defensively, like being in the gaps, having the back man. I think we’re gonna watch the film, and see where we’re at after this game and look to build on that,” Chimezie said.
The Terriers came out hot early with Brewster, who notched his career-high in only nine minutes, leading the charge.
“I thought Miles’ activity right away was very good. He set the tone for us. I thought he played very well, early,” Jones said.
Brewster’s 3-point shooting drove the Terrier offense, going 4-for-6 in the half. Overall, the Terriers made their most 3-pointers in a first half all season with nine. Meanwhile, the Badgers only had made two in the half from seven attempts.
VTSU-Johnson junior guard Travis Baker added a one-point footnote to BU’s 8-0 run to start the game with a made free throw. Baker was the only bright spot for the Badgers offense in the first 20 minutes, scoring eight points on 43 percent shooting.
Jones viewed Baker as one of VTSU Johnson’s three potential weapons in the game, along with senior Nazir Gosette and junior Raymond Baka.
“Two were in double figures, and both shot a pretty good percentage, but I thought overall we did a pretty good job of holding them down,” Jones said.
The Badgers had opportunities early to capitalize on scoring droughts for the Terriers, including one when BU didn’t score for three minutes, but they couldn’t get anything going. BU eventually snapped out of it, though, mounting a staggering 17-4 scoring run in the five minutes after that early drought. Jones led his team to the locker room for halftime with a 42-19 lead.
For the second half, with a comfortable lead, Jones handed over the car keys to the second unit, for the most part. Less than five minutes into the second period, Jones swapped platoons, taking out his five starters.
“In that second unit, you don’t have a lot of experience, [Chimezie]’s the most experienced guy… no one else has played here, and so, they’re inexperienced in terms of what we’re looking for them to do,” Jones said.
Despite a lead that reached 30 points, Jones was visibly frustrated, at times, with the defensive effort from his bench unit in the second half.
Even though they kept scoring, the Terrier defense was giving away easy buckets at the other end. The teams traded buckets in the three minutes after Jones’ substitutions.
“We’re trying to work through those lapses, a lot of it is just the effort part of it,” Jones said.
When Jones brought his starters back in, they outscored the Badgers 7-0 in their final three-minute stint on the court, led by five points from freshman guard Kyrone Alexander.
As time expired in the game, Jones emptied out the remainder of the bench. Senior forward Ethan Haber, a former manager on the team, made the most of his playing time at the end of Sunday’s win.
Haber grabbed two offensive rebounds in a wild sequence that brought the entire Terrier bench to their feet. Haber grabbed his first rebound after a missed 3-pointer from Ryan Sutliff, grabbed another after a miss from Matai Baptise, before putting in a layup to finish the job.
The Terriers will hope to improve on their 0-4 road record when they travel to the University of Albany on Wednesday for a 7 p.m. game against the Great Danes.
Jones hoped that a night of stellar shotmaking from the Terriers can help boost their confidence going forward.
“We haven’t made shots and I think we’ve gotten some pretty good looks for guys that we think can make them,” Jones said.
“We’re capable of playing a full game, and if we do that I think we’ll have a chance to win most games that we play.”