MEN'S BASKETBALL: BC Swept Away At Tourney
Published: Monday, November 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
After a convincing win at home against FIU to begin their season, the Boston College men’s basketball team now sits at 1-3 after getting swept in the 2012 Charleston Classic.
On Sunday, the Eagles suffered their closest loss of the tournament, falling 71-67 to the host school, College of Charleston. BC was without leading scorer Ryan Anderson, who suffered an ankle injury on the way to the bus to Sunday’s game, for the contest.
“The guys played really good basketball for a lot of long stretches,” said head coach Steve Donahue. “We defended much better, but there was a stretch in the second half that hurt us. We didn’t have a good offense for a stretch, and at the same time I thought our defense let down.”
For a while, it looked as though the Eagles wouldn’t miss a beat without the sophomore from California, as they jumped out to a 19-12 lead eight minutes into the game. That was fueled by BC shooting 4-of-5 on threes, though they would go 6-of-24 from downtown the rest of the game.
Despite a five-point halftime lead, the Eagles could not stay in front for long. After a three by COC’s Matt Sundberg tied the game up at 40 with 16 minutes left, the Cougars would never trail again. BC made it interesting at the end, when a clutch drive by Joe Rahon and a three by center Dennis Clifford kept the Eagles behind by only one possession. COC made its free throws and held on for the four-point win, though.
“[Our late execution] was a good sign,” Donahue said. “We had four or five straight [possessions] where we got what we wanted. Lonnie had two big plays earlier, they go down and make a play, and we still come back. I thought we executed on the offensive end. At that point we’re fouling, and to their credit, they made the foul shots.”
Patrick Heckmann had his best game of the year so far, scoring 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including 4-of-6 from three. Just as significant, he only had two turnovers in 30 minutes of action, as the Eagles overall took care of the ball well with only nine turnovers on the day.
“There are other aspects of his game that as they continue to improve will really help us,” Donahue said. “Being consistent on the defensive end, keeping people in front. A bigger body on the wing—we could really use some more minutes from someone like that, and I think Patrick in these three games is showing really good stretches of basketball, it really helps out.”
Lonnie Jackson also had a solid performance, going 4-of-9 from beyond the arc after starting the season 4-of-20. The same could not be said for newcomers Olivier Hanlan and Andrew Van Nest, who after decent efforts to begin the year, combined to score just seven points on 1-of-12 shooting from the field.
On Friday, the Eagles fell 87-71 in their second-round game against Dayton. The Eagles’ defense allowed the Flyers to shoot 62 percent from the field, including 57 percent from three. Freshman Dyshawn Pierre was a perfect 8-for-8, en route to a game-high 23 points.
“Our ball screen defense was really poor,” Donahue said. “We’re going to keep getting better shoring that up. We were just inconsistent.
“The other thing was the dribble penetration, guys getting into the lane—in the lane was really poor. I think that’s our Achilles Heel on defense in that we allow penetration whether it’s on a ball screen or not, and we just can’t afford to do that.”
BC jumped out to an early lead and was ahead 23-20 with seven minutes remaining in the first half. But Dayton proceeded to go on a 9-0 run, as the Eagles were held scoreless for nearly six minutes in the closing minutes of the half.
“You’re going to see some ups and downs with the offense, the two new kids, and the other guys are just sophomores,” Donahue said. “I do feel, as we go along, we’ll get better and better at it. We’ve got to get more comfortable with each other, and I think you’ll see less of that. But I can’t say we’re out of the woods.”
Falling behind by 11 at the break was too much for BC to overcome, and it spent most of the second half trailing by 10-15 points.
Rahon had perhaps the best game of his young career. His 36 minutes and 16 points led the Eagles, as did his four assists. Rahon has been a focal point of the BC offense so far this season, as he consistently makes plays when the ball’s in his hand, whether it’s driving along the baseline or setting up a teammate in the lane.
In the opening game of the tournament, the Eagles took on No. 16 Baylor. It was an early test for BC, a judgment of how much improvement it had made in the offseason.
Although they couldn’t come away with a win, ultimately falling to the Bears 84-74, the Eagles showed they have the ability to compete with high caliber squads. If they continue to play this way, they should be able to have success in the ACC this year.
“We’re doing more, philosophically, with how we’re going to play,” Donahue said. “We’re pushing the ball, we’re trying to get it moving. I think we played a really good schedule—obviously the three games down here against three really good teams—for the most part, the guys are doing a good job. We’re not shooting the ball all that great, and probably have been most inconsistent with that, but in terms of the pace of the game, and the sets, and things we want to do, we’re further along [than last year].”