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Boston University men’s basketball must regroup after a lost weekend

Coach Joe Jones's Terriers lost by 44 points at home Sunday, but he remains upbeat and hopeful.
Coach Joe Jones's Terriers lost by 44 points at home Sunday, but he remains upbeat and hopeful.John Munson/Associated Press

Somehow, Joe Jones remains positive. Which is quite an accomplishment considering the weekend he and his Boston University men’s basketball team had.

The Terriers, favored to win the Patriot League, got battered twice by Colgate, 86-79 on Saturday and 89-45 on Sunday in a performance that was cringe-inducing.

“It’s embarrassing,” said Jones. “You’re on national TV and you get drubbed by 40 points at home.”

The Terriers (1-3) were hurting in the backcourt, as starters Javante McCoy and Jonas Harper both were injured. Their best forward, Walter Whyte, played, but is still recovering from an ankle injury. Jones said Whyte practiced only twice before this weekend.

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Then there was the shooting; it was horrible. On Sunday, the Terriers were 1 for 29 on 3-pointers.

Despite all that, Jones is a relentlessly positive person, and that continues to be true even when the situation looks terrible.

“We’ve got to take the hit,” he said. “We’ve got to learn from it. Hopefully, we can get ourselves healthy and work through it together.

“I’m really confident that if we get healthy, get enough practices under our belt, I’m really convinced that this group can be a very good team in our league.”

Javante McCoy is a key piece of the puzzle for Boston University.
Javante McCoy is a key piece of the puzzle for Boston University.John Munson/Associated Press

Healing time may be the only solution. McCoy played Saturday, but was obviously diminished. Jones said both McCoy and Harper perhaps could have played Sunday, but they would have been “hobbling around.”

“We feel we can stem the tide, get this thing right,” said Jones. “When we get all the pieces out there, we’ll be a different team.

“We’ve got to get their minds right, focused on the right things. We’re not as connected as we need to be in order to win games. We’re trying to work through that. Usually that’s what you do in the preseason.”

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A two-game home set against Army is next, and normally the Terriers would be favored, but considering their injury situation and Army’s improved play, nothing is certain.

▪ Tabbs’s situation: The alarming news out of Boston College was coach Jim Christian talking about how he has to limit the minutes of his best player, Wynston Tabbs, who came off the bench in losses to Duke and Virginia.

“His body is hurting,” said Christian after the Duke game. “He didn’t practice for two days. We have to be careful.”

Against Duke, Tabbs played 25 minutes and scored 9 points. Against Virginia, he played 21 minutes and went scoreless, missing all nine of his shots.

BC is going to have to keep an eye on Wynston Tabbs' playing time moving forward.
BC is going to have to keep an eye on Wynston Tabbs' playing time moving forward.Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

▪ Evaluating Virginia: I tend to think the Cavaliers are a bit overrated, but Christian gave a magnanimous analysis after Saturday’s game.

“Every player guards the ball unbelievably well without help,” he said. “You cannot go by them. They’re unbelievable individual defenders and have a great rim protector [7-footer Jay Huff]. They understand their formula better than any team in the country.”

I still have my doubts about Virginia offensively. Their slow play can be successful, but it turns a dynamic player like Sam Houser (who transferred from Marquette) into an ordinary-looking player.

▪ The Huskies are contenders: Actually, Northeastern might have transformed itself into the Colonial Athletic Association favorite after a remarkable sweep of Hofstra last week. The Huskies won in overtime in Hempstead, N.Y., then beat the Pride, 67-56, in Boston behind a dynamic 3-point shooting performance by Tyson Walker (7 for 13).

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At 4-0, they’re at the top of the CAA standings. Next is a two-game set at Charleston, which is 3-1 in the CAA.

▪ Holy Cross is better: There may not be a repeat of last season’s disaster; last week’s victory over BU obviously indicates that. A big part of the improvement is junior forward Gerrale Gates, a transfer from the University of New Orleans.

Gerrale Gates (10) has given Holy Cross a boost this season.
Gerrale Gates (10) has given Holy Cross a boost this season.Christine Peterson/Associated Press

Gates is listed at 6-6, 230. I believe the 230 part; not so sure about his height. He uses his strength to score from 10 feet and in and looks like he’ll be one of the best players in the Patriot League.

Some opinions:

▪ Freshmen. The best ones are always projected into the NBA draft, players like Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham, Southern Cal’s Evan Mobley, and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs. To me, however, the best freshman is Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson.

His NBA future might be debatable because he’s a traditional center — an endangered species. At 7-1, 255, he dominates inside, hitting 73 percent of his shots while averaging 18.0 ppg and 8.1 rpg. The Wolverines are undefeated, too.

▪ “Personal reasons.” This seems to be the new code for “I’m transferring.” Both West Virginia’s Oscar Tshiebwe and Houston’s Caleb Mills missed games for that stated reason then, suddenly, both entered the transfer portal.

Beware of personal reasons. Tshiebwe committed to Kentucky, and his former coach, Bob Huggins, said he left because of “outside influences.’'

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▪ Transfer redux. Houston is ranked No. 11, and don’t forget that two of the Cougars starters are DeJon Jarreau and Brison Gresham, who started their careers at UMass but transferred after Derek Kellogg was fired.

▪ Milestones. Illinois beat Northwestern, 81-56, last week after trailing at the half, 43-28. The Illini outscored Northwestern, 53-13, in the second 20 minutes. According to STATS, the Illini are the only Division 1 team in the last 25 seasons to trail by at least 15 points at halftime and come back to win by 20 or more … Southern Cal swept the Arizona schools in the desert for the first time since the 1984-85 season … At 11-2, Eastern Kentucky is off to its best start since 1952-53.

Joe Sullivan can be reached at josephsullivan1974@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter at GlobeSullivan.