UNH Men’s Basketball: A Poor Night of Shooting Leads to a Wildcat Loss vs. BU

Joey Rizzi, Sports Writer

DURHAM, N.H. – Lundholm Gymnasium was packed with excitement on Sunday before the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats (2-2, 0-0) were defeated by the Boston University (BU) Terriers (4-1, 0-0) by a final score of 64-57.

Despite the relatively low-scoring affair, it was a fast-paced up-and-down game that had fans flipping their heads back and forth like it was a tennis match. The problem was, scoring came at a premium. 

The Wildcats shot an abysmal 30.3% FG shooting while holding the Terriers to 37.9% in the first half. Four threes to only one scored by the Terriers proved to be the difference as UNH took a one-point lead to the locker room at halftime. 

Ridvan Tutic, a six-foot-ten first-year player from Serbia, got the start in this game and saw 15 minutes of action. Graduate forward Jaxson Baker carved a larger role, however. Standing at six-foot-eight, Baker was impactful on the offensive end of the floor, knocking down four three-pointers and stretching out a physical Terriers defense. 

“I mean, the games that we’ve played well we’ve hit threes and I think we got a good thing going with our pick-and-roll offense,” said Baker. 

When the offense has been at its best, they have been hitting threes. There were some glimpses of that in this game, but with the Wildcats shooting 7-26 from the arc, it wasn’t consistent enough. The Terriers worked hard to force wasted possessions with UNH chucking up deep threes at the end of the shot clock. Head coach Bill Herrion was more complimentary of the defense in this game, despite the problems defending the paint.

“We knew they were going to be hard to guard and I still think that we’re really still trying to figure out our basketball team. We’re talking ten new guys. It’s their fourth game together,” said Herrion. “I thought defensively we were good enough. Especially in the first half. I thought we were really good to beat them. We were not good enough on offense.”

The strength defensively was on the perimeter. The Terriers were held to an insufferable 3-22 from three. 

The comfort level on defense seems to be there, but they haven’t solved their problems in the post. In the last loss against Fordham, UNH failed to guard well in the paint, suffering 24 points given up inside. Against the Terriers, they were outscored 34-16 in the paint. That’s not going to be sustainable and is not going to make it easy to win games. 

Terriers forward Nevis Zink had no difficulty scoring inside, picking up 14 points on 6 of 9 shooting. The offensive prowess of Jaxson Baker is evident, but he’s struggling to match up with the opponent’s bigs inside. 

“It’s obvious that they took advantage of, you know, their chances in the paint more than we did. Defensively, we just have to, I put a lot of blame on me. Even though you know, maybe I’m not used to guarding a position like that it doesn’t matter. I have the ability to… I just need to step it up,” said Baker. 

Accountability is the first step for this struggling Wildcats team, as they’re aware of th problems they need to address before entering into the next stretch of the schedule. 

Impactful players included Graduate guard Matt Harasme and Junior forward Clarence Daniels, who both played heavy minutes in this game to keep it close. Harasme never took a rest as he tallied 11 points and 7 rebounds. Daniels recorded 18 points and a whopping 14 rebounds as he once again led the team in usage rate. 

“Clarence Daniels was terrific. He played really really well,” said Herrion. “Matt Harasme was terrific… we’re just trying to get every ounce of blood out of him that we can.”

He continued to talk about how they’re in desperate need of others to step up and help offensively. Only three Wildcat players were able to reach double figures scoring as the losing streak was extended to two games. 

UNH will look to bounce back at the George Washington Colonials (3-1, 0-0) on Saturday. The Wildcats will try to get back above .500 with a win.