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MEN'S BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK: Hanlan hits 1,000 As BC Stumbles Again

Heights Staff

Published: Thursday, February 27, 2014

Updated: Thursday, February 27, 2014 03:02

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Emily Fahey / Heights Editor

Boston College entered its ACC matchup with Pittsburgh on Wednesday night coming off of two games which ended with very different results. After upsetting then No. 1 Syracuse on the road a week ago, the Eagles were embarrassed by the University of Miami 69-42 on Saturday. The question for the Eagles on Wednesday was simple: Which team will show up—the team which took down mighty Syracuse or the one that limped off the court in Coral Gables?
The answer to this question was neither. As a whole, BC didn’t play a particularly bad game Wednesday night, but at the same time, it was by no stretch a masterpiece. It was another night of “more of the same” at Conte Forum for the Eagles, falling 66-59 in a tightly contested battle to a superior team in which BC appeared to be very close to the upset.

“We’ve done that a lot this year—played against good teams and played them hard,” said BC head coach Steve Donahue. “We just haven’t had enough to win.”

One facet of the game that has been especially troubling for Donahue’s Eagles has been rebounding. This trend continued on Wednesday as Pitt took an early lead beginning with its domination on the boards. BC allowed far too many second chances in the paint for Pitt, as the Panthers tallied seven offensive rebounds in the first half alone while BC was only able to muster up three. Pitt also proved superior on the defensive boards, grabbing nine rebounds as opposed to BC’s four.

BC actually held a quick 7-2 lead after an emphatic dunk by junior guard Patrick Heckmann. With the way the Eagles rebounded, though, this lead had no chance of holding up. In the second half, the Panthers continued their ownership of the boards, snagging another six offensive and 11 defensive boards, totaling 33 by the final buzzer. BC continued to look upward as its ACC opponent snatched board after board, finishing with a dismal 18 rebounds for the game.

While the Eagles as a whole were anything but sharp in the first half, Olivier Hanlan did what stars are supposed to do. He essentially carried the team on his back for the entirety of the first half, scoring 14 of BC’s 26 points. He went 6-9 from the field in a half in which the rest of the team shot a weak 5-14. In the process, Hanlan became the third player in BC history to reach the 1,000 point milestone in his sophomore season.

Coach Donahue raved about his star sophomore post-game. “I love his competitiveness,” he said. “He brings it every night, every day. He’s done everything we ask to help build this program.”

Hanlan had stretches where he appeared to score at will, keeping the Eagles in a game that could have otherwise easily been a blowout. The sophomore finished the night with 25 points and three assists, shooting an impressive 10-15 from the field. Unfortunately for Hanlan, no one else could consistently get going. Only five players in total scored for the Eagles, including just a two-point contribution from Will Magarity. Had one or two more players stepped up their game just a bit, the Eagles could have been looking at their second impressive win in a week’s time—unfortunately, the team fell in a familiar fashion.

Donahue summed it up best. “I look in our eyes and we don’t have that, ‘This is okay we’re going to figure this out and get it done,’” Donahue said. “We don’t have that like they have it. We’re working on it, we’ll get there, but we don’t have that. I think that true belief in yourself and what you’re doing for 40 minutes, we don’t have that yet.”

 

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