Boston University knew they had one of the toughest tasks of any America East team heading into BracketBusters Weekend, as they traveled to Maryland to take on Loyola. The Greyhounds owned a 89 RPI, sat in second place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and were honoring the seniors during the final regular season game.
For 35 minutes the Terriers withstood every Greyhounds rally and responded with a burst of their own, they just weren't able to stand up to the final run. Loyola (20-7, 12-4 MAAC) used an 8-0 run to open a 12-point lead and never looked back as they handed the Terriers (14-15, 10-4 AE) their first BracketBuster loss (4-1) by a 69-56 score.
Senior guard Darryl Partin led the Terriers with 17 points but hit just 2-of-8 shots in the second half (6-of-16 overall), to go along with two rebounds and one assist. Point guard D.J. Irving added 16 points, four assists and three steals but he also struggled in the second half, as the pair combined for just 13 of their 33 points in the second stanza.
The Greyhounds were led by sharpshooter Robert Olson who knocked down 5-of-6 3-pointers to tie Partin for the game-high with 17 points. He had plenty of help, as Dylon Cormier (14 points), Justin Drummond (12 points) and former Northeastern forward Erik Etherly (11 points) all finished in double figures. Etherly, the reigning MAAC Player of the Week, also added a team-high six rebounds as Loyola earned their first 20 win season as a Division I program.
The game was characterized by runs, with Loyola grabbing double-digit leads in the first and second half only to have the Terriers get themselves right back into the game. In the first half the Greyhounds opened up a 28-17 lead with 2:52 to play, only to see the Terriers outscore Loyola 11-1 heading into the break.
It took less than ten minutes of the second half for the Greyhounds to build their lead back to double-digits, but once again the Terriers responded. Trailing 52-39 with 10:43 to play, Boston University went on a 6-0 spurt and an 11-2 overall run to cut the deficit to 54-50 on a Morris layup.
That was when Loyola finally put the game out of reach. After Morris' layup at the 5:42 mark, the Greyhounds scored eight straight points in 70 seconds to open up a 12-point lead. First Olson drained a 3-pointer from the corner, then Etherly scored his lone basket of the half on a dunk and then Olson capped the run with another three. Partin responded with a quick basket, but 10 points was as close as the Terriers would get the rest of the way.
The Terriers will wrap up conference play this week, when they make the short trip to the University of Maryland Baltimore County on Wednesday at 7p.m. and then wrap up their conference slate Saturday at home against Hartford.