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For the second consecutive year, the Boston University Terrier basketball team has started the season off on the wrong foot. Last year, the Terriers were defeated at home by George Washington in an OT thriller by five points, and this year the Gaels of Iona ruined Coach Chambers’ debut, upending the Terriers by nine points, 82-73.
Iona, who made its last NCAA tournament appearance in 2006, controlled the majority of the game. The first basket of the season was Tyler Morris’ 3 pointer on the Terrier’s 2nd offensive possession, but BU did not take the lead once again during the rest of game. Led by Kyle Smyth’s sharp shooting and a balanced Iona offensive attack, the Gaels jumped out to a 25-12 lead, midway through the first half.
Turnovers plagued the Terriers throughout the whole game, and this made their uphill climb to close the gap that much more difficult. Tyler Morris capped a BU 12-6 run, to tie the game at 43 with 2:16 left in the first half, but a brief Iona spurt to end the half put Iona up 48-43.
Iona took off running as the 2nd half began, leaving the Terriers in their dust. The lead ballooned to 14 just four minutes into the second period. Picked 9th to finish in the MAAC conference, Iona did not back down and answered every Terrier attack, dominating the defensive side of the game. Iona forced 22 BU turnovers, preventing any type of comeback almost impossible.
A pair of three pointers by Carlos Strong and John Holland closed the gap to 7, and a Jake O’Brien sideline jumper cut the lead to 4 with 3:46 left, but the Terriers would not creep any closer. Poor free throw shooting by Iona (18-35) from the charity stripe kept the game closer than it should have been. BU shot well from 3-point land at 43%, but the 22 turnovers ruined any chance for victory.
Boston University has it work cut out ahead of them in order to prepare for their next match up against George Washington, which opens the season at Agganis Arena, Tuesday, Nov. 17. BU will be very exciting to watch this year, as they will be an offensive-minded team similar to the style that Coach Chambers instructed at Villanova. We’ll see high scoring affairs, constant fast break tempo, and plenty of 3-point shots, which is opposite of the mindset that Coach Dennis Wolff instilled into the BU community for 15 years. BU hopes to reach the NCAA field of 65 for the first time since 2002, but the team must improve its ball control and defense or else Terrier fans may start marching across the street to Northeastern and start cheering on the Huskies.