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Despite an uneven non-conference season, Boston University could be a Patriot League threat

Joe Jones has had some wins, some losses, and learned a lot about his team.

Tony Capobianco

The Boston Terriers’ non-conference slate has been a roller coaster with more downs than ups.

Head coach Joe Jones began the season with a consistent lineup for the first eight games, which is his longest season-opening streak of his tenure at BU. The Terriers went 4-4, with three straight losses to Northeastern, Albany, and UConn, before turning it around with three straight wins against Maine, Wheaton College, and New Hampshire, then alternating in Florida with a loss at Miami and a win at Bethune-Cookman.

Jones broke his lineup streak by giving sophomore forward Max Mahoney his first career start against UMass Lowell. Even though the Terriers fell to the River Hawks, 87-82, Jones’ faith paid off as Mahoney dominated the paint and scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds with three blocks for his first career double-double.

Mahoney failed to follow up on his star performance in the first-ever meeting between BU and Elon as he was held to only a single point in a 77-69 loss. He bounced back with a team-high 16 points off the bench against Harvard, but the Terriers lost again, 74-63.

There are some things that the Terriers are doing well, but they have been horrible in some areas as well. BU is in the top five nationally with 11 players reaching double-digit points in a single game. Freshman guard Javante McCoy became the first BU rookie to score in double-figures with 15 points twice against Albany and Harvard. Nick Havener also notched a career-high 19 points against Albany and senior Cedric Hankerson became the 36th player in BU history to reach the 1,000-point milestone with 20 against UConn.

One would think that the Terriers would be better at moving the ball, but BU is 145th in the nation with 14.5 assists per game. The Terriers have the lowest free-throw percentage in the country (.547) which often leads to close losses when free throws are frequent in the final minutes.

If the Terriers can improve on their free throws, they could turn out to be a sleeper team in time for the Patriot League tournament.