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MEN'S BASKETBALL: Similar Second Halves Lead To Two Straight Losses To Start Season

Sports Editor

Published: Monday, November 11, 2013

Updated: Monday, November 11, 2013 08:11

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Graham Beck / Heights Editor

Steve Donahue wouldn’t even let the question finish being asked. He had heard, “How much did Friday...” and he had his answer.

“Nothing,” the Boston College head coach said, putting his head down slightly and shaking it. Then he let out a quiet “no” under his breath.

The BC men’s basketball team had just been dominated inside and on the glass by UMass in an 86-73 loss at TD Garden on Sunday, and he wanted to make it clear, in the simplest way possible, that Friday’s season-opening, 82- 78 overtime loss at Providence wasn’t the reason. This was a different game to Donahue, not a loss forced from a hangover of disappointment.

Although Sunday’s result may not have been caused by Friday’s, the games had their striking similarities. The BC offense was stagnant for a majority of both con- tests. The Eagles found a little more flow against the Minutemen, especially right before and after halftime, but it couldn’t be sustained.

Sophomore point guard Olivier Hanlan and junior forward Ryan Anderson carried the scoring workload, with Hanlan notching 23 points on Friday and 19 on Saturday and Anderson adding 21 then 22. They weren’t the type of offensive performances that impress their head coach, though.

“When we’re playing well, five or six guysareclosetodoublefigures,”Donahue said. “I expect our overall team to be four double figure scorers, no one more than 15 or 16, a couple of eight.

“What that tells me is that we’re just not playing good basketball like we needto.”

Although Hanlan finished with 19 against the Minutemen, it was a quiet scoring effort for the most part. He was held to two points in just nine minutes of playing time in the first half after picking up two fouls, and then struggled to get going as the second half began. When Hanlan finally started to feel it from the floor, the game was growing steadily out of reach and BC was unable to make stops. The same thing happened on Friday, as Hanlan was held in check by the Friars until the second half.

Anderson’s scoring was consistent throughout both games, but he couldn’t carry the offensive burden himself, especially since most of the points came within the larger framework of the offense.

“I don’t know if he’s that kind of player,” Donahue said when asked if BC needed to run the offense through Anderson more. “I don’t think we’re that kind of team.”

With BC getting killed on the glass—outrebounded 80-47 combined in the two games—the offensive deficiencies were even more costly.

“One thing you combat if you are getting your butts kicked on the boards, is you do a great job on offense,” Donahue said. “You control the possessions. You get great looks, and at times we did and other times we were foolish. They got advantages in transition and threw it up on the glass and that’s where we’re exposed.”

Sophomore guard Joe Rahon and junior forward Patrick Heckmann were BC’s two steadiest players through the Eagles’ first two games. While Anderson played well offensively and contributed on the glass, and Hanlan eventually found his shooting touch both nights, Rahon and Heckmann both played well all-around.

With Hanlan flying around at an incredibly quick pace trying to take advantage of the referees’ quick whistles under the new hand-checking rules, Rahon picked his spots, using pace and his body to open up shots for himself or others. Through two games he’s put up a combined 21 points on 18 shots, adding nine assists. After logging four turnovers on Friday, he cut the total to one yesterday, despite playing 39 minutes.

Rahon has missed less than two minutes of game time so far this year, an impressive feat considering he’s had to guard two quick and talented scorers in Providence’s Bryce Cotton and UMass’ Chaz Williams under the stricter hand-checking rules.

Heckmann hasn’t filled the box scores, but he’s proven a greater efficiency and consistency to his game. He’s a combined 5-of-8 from the field and 4-of-4 from the line for 16 points. As Alex Dragicevich continues to struggle in his return to the court after sitting out last season and Heckmann’s sore ankle starts to heal, Heckmann is becoming a greater threat for starter minutes.

Even with the 0-2 start, Donahue said he needs to change what he emphasizes, not the team’s overall approach.

“I don’t think there’s a change,” Donahue said. “I’m real honest with our guys. I have great confidence in this group. We’re going to be a good basketball team. I’m disappointed, for sure, but I’m not discouraged in how I feel this team can be.”

BC gets two chances to bounce back against Toledo and Florida Atlantic at home this week, before a challenging slate at the 2K Classic in New York.

“The scheduling is what it is,”Donahue said. “I’ve said this many times, if we want to be as good as we can be, we’ve got to play this schedule. That’s going to make us better. We’re going to learn from this. I have great confidence in these guys.” 

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