Terriers Triumph over American, 59-54

Terriers Triumph over American, 59-54

Box Score Jan. 21, 2015

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BOSTON - Highlighted by sophomore Cedric Hankerson's game-high 18 points and school-record nine steals, the Boston University men's basketball team claimed a 59-54 victory over Patriot League preseason favorite American, 59-54, on Wednesday night at Agganis Arena. Having snapped a three-game losing streak, the Terriers improve to 8-10 and 4-3 in conference play, as the Eagles (11-8, 4-3 PL) had their three-game win streak come to an end.

One of three Terriers to reach double figures, Hankerson also helped BU earn the wire-to-wire victory by adding a team-high six assists and six rebounds. His nine steals are one more than the previous record held by four Terriers, including current Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown ('83).  In his first career start at BU, classmate Eric Fanning posted 14 points and six boards, while junior Justin Alston earned 12 points.

Jesse Reed led the Eagles with 15 points and eight rebounds, as American edged BU in the battle at the boards, 27-24. Last year's PL Tournament MVP Pee Wee Gardner dished out six assists but committed five turnovers while also contributing seven points. Marko Vasic came off the bench to keep the game close with 14 points.

BU jumped out of the gate with a 7-0 spurt and never lost the lead to American despite the Eagles consistently clawing themselves back into the game. Hankerson hit his first of three 3-pointers while being fouled at 17:41 and added a free throw before extending the lead to 17-7 six minutes later with a layup. 

American pulled within one (25-24) at 2:03 on Charlie Jones's layup and had an opportunity to later take the lead. However, the Terriers got two defensive stops, and Fanning ended the half with a short jumper to give BU the 27-24 advantage entering the locker room.

Owning their first halftime lead against American since joining the Patriot League, the Terriers came out attacking in the second half. Hankerson led the charge by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers and finishing the 12-0 run with two steals that keyed a pair of layups and 39-24 lead at 16:40.

The Eagles responded by reeling off nine straight points capped by John Schoof's layup at 12:29 to pull within 39-33. They later cut the deficit to three on four separate occasions in the final 4:15, but each time, the Terriers had a response.

After grabbing a critical defensive rebound, Fanning hit a layup with 18 seconds remaining in regulation to push the lead back to five. Gardner put the score at 57-54 on a pair of free throws, and the Eagles tried to pressure BU into a turnover. Finishing with just eight miscues, the Terriers managed to find freshman Cheddi Mosely, who drained both of his free throw attempts in a 1-and-1 situation to seal the victory.

Winning their first game this season without reaching the 69-point threshold, the Terriers finished the contest 20-of-44 (.455), including 6-of-17 (.353) from 3-point range. One of the bombs came courtesy of junior John Papale, who moved into 10th-place all-time in the BU record book alongside former teammate D.J. Irving ('14) at 170 career treys. 

The Eagles shot 52.6 percent in the second half to end the game 19-of-43 (.442) and 7-of-21 (.333), respectively, but could not overcome the 13 turnovers. BU outscored American off turnovers (15-8), in the paint (26-24) and in second-chance points (6-5) to move to 4-2 in the all-time series. 

The Terriers will remain home and next host co-PL leader Bucknell on Saturday (Jan. 24) at 1 p.m. The Bison currently sit atop the conference standings at 5-2 with Colgate, just one game ahead of BU. 

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