By Luke Coughlan/DFP Staff
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — In its first America East postseason bout since it secured the conference championship in 2011, the third-seeded Boston University men’s basketball team saw its title defense stall out early as it fell, 53-49, to sixth-seeded University of Hartford.
Playing in the last of four America East quarterfinal games on Saturday, the Terrier (16-16, 12-5 America East) loss was the only upset of the day and sent the Hawks (9-21, 8-9 America East) to the semifinals against second-seeded University of Vermont on Sunday.
“I thought it was a very physical and hard-fought game,” said BU coach Joe Jones, who finished his first year as Terrier bench boss with the loss. “We are pretty shaken right now by the loss, but a lot of respect for [Hawks coach John] Gallagher and his kids. I thought they played very hard.”
Despite holding a six-point lead at the half, the Terriers succumbed to a late 15-6 Hawk run that turned a five-point lead with 6:14 remaining into a four-point loss. Terrier sophomore guard DJ Irving’s 12 points and five assists complemented senior guard and America East Player of the Year Darryl Partin’s game-high 17 points on 5-of-17 shooting, but the effort was not enough to out-do a double-double by Hawks freshman forward Mark Nwakamma (13 points, 16 rebounds) and a 5-of-10 shooting performance from freshman forward Nate Sikma.
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