Sophomore guard John Papale had a perfect night, hitting all seven of his field goal attempts, including six 3-pointers, as he scored 20 points to shoot the Boston University Terriers past the Loyola (Md.) Greyhounds 87-72 on Saturday night in Baltimore.
It was the fourth straight win for Boston U. (19-8, 12-2 Patriot League), which took the lead in the conference over slumping American (15-10, 11-3), a loser for the third time in its last four games Saturday at Lafayette. The Terriers can take a two-game lead over the Eagles when the teams meet Wednesday in Boston.
With freshman guard Cedric Hankerson hitting five 3-pointers in the first half on his way to a career-high 20 points, Boston U. blew out to a 19-point lead. But behind senior forward Jordan Latham, who scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, both career highs, Loyola cut the lead to five points with 6:28 left.
Papale, however, had the ultimate answer, draining four 3-pointers in a span of 97 seconds. His final shot from long range came with 3:38 left and put the Terriers up 75-59. In the final three minutes, senior guard D.J. Irving (14 points) hit all eight of his free-throw attempts to keep the Terriers in command.
Boston U. also got stellar all-around play from sophomore guard Maurice Watson Jr., who had 12 points, eight assists, and four steals. His defensive work was key against a Loyola backcourt that was without starters R.J. Williams (leg contusion) and Dylon Cormier (broken hand), the Patriot League scoring leader who will miss the rest of the season.
Without their primary ball handlers, the Greyhounds committed 22 turnovers while Boston U. committed 12. The discrepancy helped the Terriers compensate for their 37-24 deficit on the boards.
In a meeting of teams playing their first season in the Patriot League, Boston U. never trailed. The 6-foot-5 Hankerson made his presence known midway through the first half, scoring 12 points in a 22-5 run that gave the Terriers their biggest lead at 35-16. Late in the half, when Hankerson made a rare four-point-play, drawing a foul as he hit a 3, he had already matched his career high with 19 points.
Midway through the second half, Loyola went on a 12-2 run to slice the deficit to five points. But that was Papale's call to arms.