The Bruins men’s basketball team had home court advantage for the first time this season when they faced the Emmanuel College Lions Tuesday night. In the end, poor free-throw shooting hurt the Bruins, and the Lions came away with a 52-39 win.
The Lions’ Adrian Justice led all scorers with 14 points, while Zach Mercado led the Bruins with 10. The Bruins held the Lions to only 37 percent from the field but couldn’t get the offense going, although Bruins forward Evan Brondyke had a trio of three-pointers to keep the Bruins in the game.
Jason McVey led the Bruins on defense from the very beginning by doing the little things. “I’ve always put an emphasis on defense,” McVey said. And he enjoyed hearing the support of the home crowd. “They obviously helped give us the energy we needed,” he said. “It’s awesome having them on your side, and they were there to pick us up whenever we did something right.”
BJU struggled to find the basket as the second half wore on. “[Emmanuel] was good defensively,” Coach Neal Ring said. “They did a good job getting out on our shooters. When they went to the zone, they caused us to slow down a little bit, and we settled, trying to find the open dagger from three instead of trying to get the ball inside.”
“We were settling too much,” Coach Ring said, stressing the need to get to the free throw line more and convert offensive opportunities. “If we gave up a hundred [points], I would be more concerned,” he said. “If we can keep bringing the defensive threat every night, then we can fix the offense.”
BJU played with intensity on defense and held Emmanuel to just two offensive rebounds in the second half, but it was too little too late.
“I’m very pleased with [the team’s] effort tonight,” Coach Ring said. “I think the guys really brought it [after] coming off the break.”
The Bruins look to take their defensive abilities up a notch and clean up the offense in tomorrow’s game against Johnson & Wales University.