Jao Ituka Shines in Emphatic Overtime Win At Boston University

The Marist men’s basketball team earned a 84-79 victory in overtime over the Boston University Terriers on Saturday night. The Red Foxes are now 4-3 in road games so far this season.

In the early stretches of the first half, the Red Foxes were able to get on to a significant lead. Marist were up by as many as eight points, but the Terriers were able to fight back. 

With 07:23 left in the half, Boston took their first lead of the game at 20-19. For the rest of the half, both teams had different stretches of holding the lead.

Marist held a 34-33 advantage going into halftime. Jao Ituka led all scorers with 12 points at the break. 

For the handful of minutes in the beginning of the second half, neither team showed the ability to pull away. The largest lead for either team through the first six minutes was just three.

Midway through the second, momentum started to swing in favor of Boston. The Terriers were able to string baskets together, taking a 61-50 lead with a little over six minutes left in the game.

The next few minutes consisted of both teams trading punches. Marist were constantly looking to put pressure on Boston, but were only able to cut the deficit to as little as five with less than three minutes remaining. 

With their ability to get to the free throw line, the Red Foxes were able to find an avenue back into the game late. Four made shots from the charity stripe from Jordan Jones and Rahiem Sullivan cut the deficit to three with 90 seconds remaining.

With 12 seconds left, Marist trailed by just three points following two made free throws from Garrett Pascoe. The Red Foxes brought the ball up the floor, looking for an opportunity to tie the game. 

Ituka, who had yet to take a three-pointer all night, was relied upon to give his team a lifeline. The guard took a shot from the wing, hitting the shot from behind the arc to tie it at 68. The Terriers came down the floor with a chance to win it in regulation, but were unable to get a shot off.

The beginning of the extra period wasn’t particularly pleasant for Marist. Sukhmail Mathon of Boston opened the scoring with a layup. On the ensuing possession, the Terriers forced a turnover, which led to a foul from Ituka. Fletcher Tynen hit both free throws, giving the home team a quick four-point lead.

Marist proceeded to go on a 7-2 run over the next three minutes, capped off by a three-pointer from Matt Herasme that would give the team a 75-74 lead with 01:43 remaining. 

After the Terriers were unable to score on the next possession, Marist put some distance between themselves with a crucial basket. Ituka hit Sullvian with a pass, who connected on a three-pointer from the top of the key to stretch the lead out to four. The Red Foxes finished the final minute of overtime on a 6-5 run, holding on to win by five.

Ituka finished the contest with a career-high 34 points on 11-for-14 shooting from the field and 11-for-13 from the free throw line. The 6-foot-1 guard is now averaging 13.1 points per game on 60.2 percent shooting from the field in ten games this season.

Wright was another important contributor for Marist against the Terriers, scoring 14 points on six-for-13 shooting from the field and two-for-six shooting from three. The sophomore from Eustis, Florida also had six rebounds and two steals in 32 minutes.

McCoy, who came into this game as the leading scorer for Boston University at 17.2 points per game, had another excellent performance against the Red Foxes. The 6-foot-5 guard had a team-high 17 points on seven-for-14 shooting from the field and three-for-seven from three in 38 minutes. 

Marist returns to play on Dec. 22 at 7 p.m., when they face the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats at McCann Arena in Poughkeepsie, New York. Bethune-Cookman won the only matchup between these teams, earning a 85-56 victory at home on Dec. 21, 2019. 

Edited by Ricardo Martinez

Photo Credit: Luke Sassa

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