MEN'S BASKETBALL: Despite Poor Shooting From Beyond The Arc, BC Downs UNH In Overtime
Published: Sunday, December 16, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
At the end of regulation, the Boston College men’s basketball team had only 52 points on 33 percent shooting and was 0-19 from 3-point range. The good news for the Eagles, though, was that UNH only had 52 points as well, leading to overtime at Conte Forum. In the extra period, shots began to fall for BC en route to a 61-59 win.
The Eagles found themselves trailing by eight at the half and then by 13 midway through the second period. BC then went on a 16-2 run to take its first lead of the second half with just over two minutes left in the game. With the clock winding down late in regulation, freshman guard Joe Rahon had a chance to win the game on a 3-pointer from the top of the key, but, as had happened all game, the long ball failed to fall.
In overtime, the Wildcats jumped out to a quick four-point lead and stretched that lead to five on a corner three with a little less than three minutes remaining. Despite having missed his first two attempts from behind the arc, Jackson found himself open on the next possession and hit BC’s first 3-pointer to cut the Wildcat lead to two.
Two possessions later, Olivier Hanlan followed suit and drained the Eagles second 3-pointer of the game to give the Eagles a one-point lead. The Wildcats were unable to score on their next three possessions and BC held on for an unlikely victory.
With BC struggling from beyond the arc throughout the game, forward Ryan Anderson became the main scoring option. Anderson led the team in scoring with 23 points, 14 of which came in the second half and overtime. He also finished with 19 rebounds in the game, with eight coming on the offensive glass, leading to multiple putback opportunities as the Eagles racked up 16 second chance points in the game.
After being outrebounded in the first half 22-14, head coach Steve Donahue knew that his team needed to improve in that area to get the win.
“I told them at half time that [UNH] crushed us in the first half on the glass, but I thought we won that battle in the second half by a long stretch,” Donahue said.
The Eagles leading 3-point scorers this year, Lonnie Jackson, Patrick Heckmann, Rahon, and Hanlan, had shot a combined 52-151 through the first nine games of this season, but the four combined to go 0-18 in regulation against UNH.
“I felt we were getting open shots, they just weren’t going in for us today,”Hanlan said.
Despite the struggles from behind the arc, Hanlan and his teammates did not shy away from the long ball in overtime, and it paid off as Hanlan’s 3-pointer ended up being the game winning basket.
“I just said, ‘Finally.’ I was missing shots all game but that one felt good,” Hanlan said. “My teammates have confidence in me, coach Donahue has confidence in me, so I was confident taking [the shot].”
In Sunday’s low scoring battle, the Eagles were able to find a way to win despite struggling in certain areas.
“I thought that, since I’ve been here, this was one of the gutsiest, grittiest games we’ve played in,” Donahue said. “I’m just really proud of our guys.”
After allowing 31 points in the first half, the BC defense held the Wildcats to just 21 points in the second half and out rebounded them 30-14. BC’s hard work on the glass in the second half translated to 12 second chance points.
Anderson, who faced early double teams in the post throughout the contest, played all 25 minutes of the second half and overtime and proved to be a key piece in the Eagles victory.
“I’m just really happy for [Ryan] because he struggled at different times but he put a monster game together today,” Donahue said.
The Wildcats were the first opponent that the BC sophomore class faced in their NCAA debut last year, but Donahue does not see this game, or any game in particular, as a measuring stick.
“Our measuring stick is every day in practice, how we’re getting better,” Donahue said. “It’s just another step along the way…I want to get better and better and come February I want to be a really good basketball team in the ACC.”
With a record of 5-5, the Eagles have three more games on their 2012 calendar before starting ACC play in their first game of the New Year against NC State. Donahue hopes that this game can serve as a learning tool going forward.
“It’s not a pretty game,” Donahue said. “But there’s a great lesson here that we can still be down that much and fight through a lot of adversity.”