By Shep Hayes/DFP Staff
Despite leading Villanova University 26-23 at the end of the first half, the Boston University men’s basketball team scored only 17 points in the second, falling to the Wildcats, 68-43, Wednesday evening at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
The Terriers (4-7) scored the opening basket and held the lead through the entire first half and all the way into the second, holding a nine-point advantage over the Wildcats (6-4) at one moment. When his team headed into the locker room at the half, BU coach Joe Jones said the Terriers “felt good.”
“I thought the guys were confident we could play a good second half,” Jones said by phone after the game.
In reality, however, BU struggled from the beginning of the second half. The Wildcats came out of the locker room on a tear, jumping ahead of the Terriers just a few minutes into the half and not looking back the rest of the way. Villanova dropped 41 points in the half alone and ended up dominating every statistical category for the game, making 37.3 percent of its field goal attempts, 73.3 percent of its free throw attempts and 25.9 percent of its 3-point field goal attempts.
Junior guard Dominic Cheek led the Wildcats in scoring, with 14 points. He was closely followed by junior forward Mouphtaou Yarou with 13 points and junior guard Maalik Wayns with 10 points. Yarou also led Villanova with 13 of its 48 total rebounds, while sophomore guard James Bell had four assists.
For BU, sophomore guard D.J. Irving had 11 points and senior forward Pat Hazel had nine. Senior guard Darryl Partin was the fifth-best scorer in the country entering the game, but had only six points, missing all eight of his 3-point attempts and shooting only 2-of-7 from inside the arc.
Hazel also led the Terriers in rebounds, with five and was one of three BU players with two assists.
As for what the Terriers will focus on as they prepare to host Bucknell University next Thursday at Case Gymnasium, Jones said the team needs to find a way to “sustain” its offensive production.
“The key for us is to keep getting better,” Jones said.