By René Reyes/DFP Staff
Corey Lowe was in the stands of Case Gymnasium Wednesday night, watching as former Boston University men’s basketball teammate John Holland inched closer and closer to surpassing him on BU’s all-time scoring list.
Holland’s game-high 31 points on the evening weren’t enough to supplant Lowe –– at 1,880 career points, Holland still needs 16 more to move past Lowe and become BU’s No. 3 all-time scorer –– or carry the Terriers (5-8) to a second straight win, as BU suffered an 82-81 loss to Quinnipiac University (8-2) at The Roof.
“I like what he’s doing,” said BU coach Patrick Chambers of his star forward. “There’s gonna be games we gotta jump on his back like tonight. We gotta jump on his back, go with him and we did for the most part. We just came up a little short.”
On the opening offensive possession of the ballgame, Holland separated himself from guard James Johnson and knocked down an open triple from the top of the arc, spurring an early 7-0 BU run and starting his night off on the right foot.
“The first play of the game was huge for him,” said Quinnipiac coach Tom Moore. “He caught it, we were a little bit late closing, kept our hands a little too low, he raised up and made that first jump shot and that got him going.”
The Bronx native finished with a season-high 31 points on 9-of-19 shooting from the field and 4-of-8 from beyond the arc and also contributed a team-high nine rebounds. He leads the Terriers and the America East Conference with a season average of 18.6 points per game. The University at Albany’s Tim Ambrose is second with 17.7 ppg.
Moore conceded that his Bobcats defense couldn’t do anything to contain Holland Wednesday at Case.
“He was really good,” Moore said. “I don’t think anyone in particular on our team individually did a good enough job on him. I don’t think as a team we quite hedged when he was coming off screens with our bigs. I don’t think our wings did a great job and I don’t think our bigs did a great job when he was coming off dribble-handoffs and screens. … We weren’t very good playing him. I know that.
“I thought we would get a little more of a team effort playing, but he was really good. He was really good.”
Like he did against St. Joseph’s University two weeks ago, Holland drove the ball down the Bobcats’ throat, attacked the rim with more aggressiveness and used his size and strength to blow past his defenders, which he hadn’t been doing a lot of earlier in the season. His 11 free throw attempts are a testament to his determination to get to the hoop with more consistency.
“I mean, there’s been a little bit of an emphasis to try to get to the basket more,” Holland said. “It was good today. I was able to get to the basket a little bit, hit a couple shots. It just wasn’t enough right now. It is what it is right now.”
“We need him to mix it up because he got to the line 11 times,” Chambers said. “Usually we’re gonna win a game when he gets to the line that many times.
With three ticks left on the clock, Chambers designed a play to allow Holland to have the ball in his hands in the contest’s final seconds. But Holland’s 30-foot heave hit the back iron, bounced off the glass and clanked off the front rim.
“He’s a senior,” Chambers said when asked if the final play was indeed called for Holland. “You gotta go down with your senior. He took a good shot, just got it off just in time. One more dribble, one more second, it’s no good. It was right there.”
Moore had nothing but praise and admiration for the 6-foot-5, 205-pound Holland, a two-time All-AE First-Team honoree.
“He stays balanced,” Moore said. “He’s got great pace. He takes good shots, doesn’t get off balance much. Even the very last [shot] was a strong shot. It takes a strong, young guy to raise up off a pull-up from that distance and put that type of stroke on it.
“He’s a terrific player.”