Second-Half Defense Helps BU Defeat Yale, 55-43
Freshman O’Brien leads Terriers with 13 points
BOSTON – The Boston University men’s basketballteam overcame a season-high 20 turnovers with gritty defense in thesecond half to defeat Yale, 55-43, on Wednesday night at CaseGymnasium. Jake O’Brien’sgame-high 13 points, including a 3-point dagger that gave BU a 54-43lead with 1:25 remaining, helped the Terriers improve to 5-3, while theBulldogs dropped to 2-6 on the season.
Yale hit 44.8% of its shots in the first half to keep the game tied,28-28, heading into the locker room and scored 20 of those points inthe paint. However, the Terriers stood their ground in the secondstanza and only gave up six near the basket the rest of the way. RossMorin’s jumper with 13:08 remaining in regulation gave the Bulldogs a36-33 lead, but they would not hit another field goal until PorterBraswell drained a 3-pointer with 2:26 remaining to stop a 16-4 BU run.
Even with an off-night from the field (3-of-10), junior Corey Lowescored 12 points to join O’Brien, named America East player of thegame, as the only Terriers to finish in double-figures. He now has 990career points and is just 10 away from becoming the 28th Terrier toreach the 1,000-point benchmark.
Classmate Tyler Morrishad a standout defensive performance, posting a career-high sevenrebounds along with a game-high four assists and two steals. Morin ledYale with 12 points and seven rebounds, while the team’s leading scorerentering the game, Alex Zampier (16.7 ppg) only managed five points,all in the first half, after a 2-of-14 performance from the field.
In the first half, neither team could get a handle on the game asboth combined for 20 turnovers. Yale took their largest lead of thegame when Morin made a layup to put the Bulldogs ahead, 11-7, at 13:53.Paul Nelson’s jumper less than two minutes later put Yale back at four,13-9, but the Terriers responded with a 18-9 run that was capped byLowe’s 3-pointer with 2:46 remaining to give BU its largest lead of thehalf, 27-22.
Yale held tough and managed to tie the game, 28-28, with eight secondsremaining on a layup by Morin. The Bulldogs were 13-of-29 (44.8%)against BU’s 8-of-19 (42.1%), though the Terriers had three more treysand were also 8-of-9 from the charity stripe.
Sophomore John Holland scored the first basket of the second half for either team at 17:59, and senior Matt Wolffscored BU’s next three points off a free throw and layup to put BUahead 33-30 at 16:42. Yale scored the following six points off layupsby Gibson, Braswell and Morrin to take a 36-33 lead, but Carlos Strong’sjumper and O’Brien’s three-point play after a layup and made free throwput the Terriers ahead for good, 38-36, with 12:14 remaining.
Two free throws by Scott Brittain,who also had a season-high six rebounds, extended the lead to six,43-37, at 7:41, but 3-of-4 made free throws in a 30-second span fromGibson cut the deficit down to three. Morris pushed the lead to seven,47-40, with his second 3-pointer of the game at 3:55, and Lowe addedtwo more points off free throws at 2:34.
Braswell’s shot from beyond the arc cut the lead to six, 49-43.O’Brien responded on the ensuing drive with a layup and then a3-pointer following a missed Zampier 3-point attempt to take away anyhope of Yale attempting a late-game rally. Lowe hit a free throw with42 seconds remaining to give BU their largest lead of the game.
Yale’s 15 points in the second half were the fewest allowed by theTerriers in a half this season, and the Bulldogs’ 43 total pointsmarked the lowest output by an opponent since BU defeated NewHampshire, 53-29, during the 2006-07 season.
With the victory, 15th-year head coach Dennis Wolffimproves his record to 19-2 against Ivy League schools, as the Terriersextended their unbeaten streak to 12 games with the last loss coming in2001 against Columbia.
Also, BU earned its 200th career win in Case Gymnasium. NicknamedThe Roof, it opened in 1972 and has now hosted 284 games (200-84, .704winning percentage), including Wolff’s America East conferencetournament title victories in 1997 and 2002.
Up next for the Terriers is a trip to South Bend., Ind., for amatchup with No. 12-nationally ranked Notre Dame on Saturday (Dec. 13).Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at the Joyce Center.