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Heights Editor

Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013

Updated: Sunday, February 17, 2013 23:02


After Saturday afternoon’s game against the Seminoles, Boston College men’s basketball has now lost eight of its last 11 games by five or fewer points. Florida State, on the other hand, is 6-1 in games decided by five points or fewer. 

The near misses have defined the season. This weekend’s last minute loss for the Eagles’ was more of the same. FSU beat BC 69-66, after Ryan Anderson missed a  3-pointer with time expiring. 

With four minutes left, the Eagles’ found themselves down 60-53. BC clawed back to come within two with less than 10 seconds left. After intentionally fouling FSU freshman Terry Whisnant, Whisnant hit one of two free throws. Olivier Hanlan pushed the ball up the floor, drawing three defenders.

Hanlan found the open Anderson on the perimeter with a good look to send the contest into overtime. The shot looked promising the entire way, as Anderson held his hand up waiting to celebrate. Then the ball clanked off the front of the rim. The Eagles’ led just once in the game. 

“The first half we did okay, but let up too many second shots. Our biggest issue this year is two consistent halves of good defense,” Eagles head coach Steve Donahue said. “Not having [7-footer Dennis Clifford] is a problem. His absence hurts our interior defense and ability to make stops in the lane … Our defense was just okay and it probably hurt us.”

BC was outscored 20-30 in the paint without Dennis Clifford, who is hobbled by ankle problems. The Eagles’ stayed close in the game due to their 3-point shooting. They shot nine of 16 from behind the arc. Hanlan led the way with 19 points, including three three-pointers. 

FSU outpaced BC in the final 20 minutes. In the second half they collectively shot 67 percent from the floor. They were also consistent from the field after the break, hitting four of five 3-pointers, along with 10 of 12 free throws. 

Michael Snaer, the Seminole’s senior leader, led all scorers with 21 points. Averaging 14 points per game, FSU’s go-to man made the biggest impact on the relatively young team. 

“I thought he came to play today, he gave us great leadership on the floor,” said FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton in a press conference after the game.

The Eagle’s are now 11-14 overall and 3-9 in the ACC. Close losses to ACC teams Miami, NC State, Duke and FSU have plagued the Eagles. Each game has the same similar ending. The young team is improving nevertheless, such as freshman bright spot Hanlan.

“I thought Olivier played really well. I thought he picked his spots efficiently,” Donahue said.

Hanlan, who infamously missed free throws to force overtime against Miami, hit two clutch free throws with 24 seconds left. His ability to create high percentage shots for himself has led to an increase in point totals. In three of his last four games he has scored more than 15 points, including 20 against Duke. 

Patrick Heckmann continued to make an impact, scoring 10 points. Freshman guard Joe Rahon led the Eagles in assists with five. 

FSU and BC are teams with similar stories this year. Both rely on their younger players and are middle of the pack in the ACC. Despite the similarities, FSU differentiates themselves by finishing out games. 

 “I think we played really good basketball in the ACC, to go on the road and play as well as we have,” Donahue said. “We had three one possession games and unfortunately came out without wins. We’ve played well against really good teams, considering our top seven being freshman and sophomores.”

With a young team fresh from high school and used to dominating their respective leagues, this year has been an adjustment. 

 “Our morale is very good, but our confidence is probably just okay. A lot of us get confidence from being successful and coming out on the right end of the scoreboard,” Donahue said. “We’re working hard everyday, including practice, tonight to get ready to play Maryland.” 

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