Warriors can't overcome early shooting woes in loss to Boston University
BOSTON — Early struggles from the floor doomed Merrimack against Boston University on Saturday. The Warriors fell 74-63 at BU’s Case Gym.
Merrimack started the game shooting 3 for 12 from the floor, which allowed Boston University to race out to an early 11-point lead. The Warriors closed the game to three points with 5:03 left in the first half, but the Terriers closed out the first half on a 13-0 run to take a commanding 16-point lead into halftime.
“Our lack of shot making early affected our defensive energy,” said Merrimack coach Joe Gallo. “Then you get into a hole, and you’re chasing it from that point.
“It was just one of those road games. You have like two of them per year, where it feels like you’re playing in Colorado Springs and the air has been taken out of you. We couldn’t catch, we couldn’t hear. We did a lot of uncharacteristic things. I’d love to roll into conference play with momentum, but sometimes a little bit of friction creates traction.”
Bryan Etumnu was the lone Warrior who didn’t struggle early in the first half. He hit his first three field goals (including a pair of threes) and finished with 11 points. Etumnu finished the night 4 for 5 from the floor.
“We have a few guys in that five spot who we think can make some threes,” Gallo said. “That’s going to be important for us.”
BU continued to roll through much of the second half. WIth 3:17 left, the Warriors trailed by 29 points (72-43), but closed the game on a 20-2 run. Devon Savage converted on three three-point attempts in that run and finished with a team-high 19 points. Savage shot 5 for 9 from three.
“We have a competitive group,” Gallo said. “We’re gonna keep fighting. But that doesn’t take away from how we played. Coach Jones did an unbelievable job preparing his team for our zone. They got some great looks. They beat us to 50-50 balls, which is another thing that doesn’t usually happen to us. Hopefully we can take those last three minutes and roll into conference play.”
Freshman guard Budd Clark was in the lineup for the Warriors. Clark left last Friday’s game against Bucknell with an injury but was a full participant in Saturday’s game, playing 28 minutes and finishing with five steals.
“It was good to see him out there,” Gallo said. “He’s fine.”
NOTES: The Warriors went 14 for 18 from the free-throw line. … Jacob O’Connell and Jordan Derkack each had five rebounds for the Warriors.
NEXT: Merrimack will open NEC play on Thursday when they host Fairleigh Dickinson in a rematch of last season’s NEC Championship game.