MEN'S BASKETBALL: After Late Collapse, BC Edges Clemson
Published: Sunday, February 3, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 3, 2013 22:02
On a chilly Saturday afternoon at Conte Forum, the Boston College Eagles used red-hot shooting and a resilient effort down the stretch to notch their first home win in ACC play. Freshman guard Joe Rahon led the way for the Eagles, putting up a stellar stat line of 26 points, four assists, four rebounds, and lighting it up from deep, going 6-for-7 from three.
On the other side of the ball, Clemson’s leading scorer and rebounder, Devin Booker, continued his elevated play, pouring in 19 points and grabbing 10 boards as his Tigers fell to the Eagles 75-68.
BC (10-11, 2-6) controlled the pace and dominated both sides of the ball for the first 31 minutes of the game, in part to pesky perimeter defense and solid ball movement and execution on the other end. Eddie Odio’s spirited play in the first half helped the Eagles jump out to an 11-point lead, as the forward stuffed the stat sheet, chipping in seven points, five rebounds, two assists, three steals and one monster block that prevented an easy Clemson layup.
Head coach Steve Donahue commented after the game about Odio’s first half play, saying, “What Eddie was doing is exactly what were preaching and he does it so well … I thought Eddie did a great job with all the energy things.”
BC found itself up as much as 20 points with under 10 minutes to play, but Clemson clawed its way back to within one point with a 1:15 left to play in regulation. This huge run was sparked in part by the hot shooting down the stretch from guards Jordan Roper and Adonis Filer. As the Tigers’ shots kept falling in, this allowed Clemson to set up and execute a full-court press that the young Eagles squad looked vulnerable against late, as they committed three straight turnovers at one point and almost allowed Clemson to steal the win.
In the end though, it was the poise of the two freshmen guards, Rahon and Olivier Hanlan, as well as some clutch shot-making from Ryan Anderson that allowed BC to hold on for the win. The sophomore forward, who is currently in the top five in the ACC in both points and rebounds per game, had a modest afternoon with only 12 points and four boards, but had perhaps the biggest basket of the game: a contested layup off a feed from Rahon that stretched the Eagles’ lead back to three. Clutch free throw shooting from guard Lonnie Jackson (14 points, six assists) sealed the win as the Conte faithful collectively breathed a massive sigh of relief.
Team captain Dennis Clifford logged his third straight game of single digit minutes, playing only two first half minutes before being relegated to the bench for the rest of the contest as he continues to deal with chronic knee problems.
When asked about the possibility of shutting Clifford down for the season, Donahue said, “We have [thought about it], it’s not my decision. But the reality of it is, and he knows it, he’s not effective out there … hopefully we don’t have to shut him down and he starts to get slowly better.”
Despite the win, there were still some concerning issues for the young Eagles. The team was outrebounded by double digits, and surrendered 14 offensive rebounds to only five of their own. Those offensive rebounds only led to 10 second chance points, as the Clemson big men kept missing put-back after easy put-back, but this is still a concern for Donahue going forward.
In his postgame press conference, Donahue commented on the effect these close losses has had on his team, saying, “When you don’t win … it’s hard to stay confident. And I think this was a great way to get these guys confident, to feel good about themselves, and continue to work. [Today’s win] was critical in a lot of different ways.”