News, Sports, Basketball

BC Struggles With Consistency Against Duke And Virginia

With 15:05 left in the second half of Wednesday’s game and his team down big against the surging Virginia Cavaliers, Olivier Hanlan blew past his defender and knifed his way to the rim, only to pass up the layup and find Patrick Heckmann in the corner for a missed 3-point shot. This play just about summed up Hanlan’s night-despite his status as the Eagles’ top scoring option, he has been remarkably reluctant to shoot as of late.

Four days after attempting a mere five field goals against Notre Dame, Hanlan shot just twice in the first half against the Cavaliers before finishing with 14 points on four of 10 shooting. The sophomore guard was a nonfactor during the competitive portion of Wednesday’s game, electing to wait until the final minutes of the second half to assert himself offensively.

While the Cavaliers’ defense conceded nothing easy to Hanlan, his low shooting totals were more of a reflection of his desire to get his teammates involved. Hanlan’s selflessness shows that Boston College needs its best player to shoot the basketball if it is going to win.

Lonnie Jackson continues to provide the team with efficient offense at the shooting guard position, but against Duke he failed to perform. The junior guard registered 12 points on 4-6 shooting in 27 minutes against the ‘Hoos, which included several big 3-pointers when the game was still competitive. For most of the road game, Jackson played smart, efficient offensive basketball, before growing silent once the game got out of hand in the second half. His shooting from behind the arc is an integral part of BC’s offense.

“They shoot, 46 percent of their shots are threes, and you always have to be ready, because they spread you with four guards,”  said Virginia head coach Tony Bennett. “They run a ball screen, and they usually slip the ball screen and roll down the lane with a quality player in Anderson, so you’ve got to be able help with a guard on the roll and get to those shooters quick.”

Ryan Anderson led the team in scoring, registering 20 points on eight of 11 shooting to go along with seven boards against Virginia, but against Duke, the junior forward/center was held to 12 points. Anderson was the Eagles’ only rebounding presence as the Cavaliers went under, over, and around the Eagles en route to outrebounding them 40-27. Anderson’s productive and efficient offensive performance was mildly tempered by a bad night at the free throw line, finishing by hitting four of nine.

Freshman forward Garland Owens saw more playing time Wednesday and Saturday than he had seen in the recent past. He registered six points and four boards against the Cavaliers, but his presence was felt less against Duke, as he put in a quieter performance against the Blue Devils. Prior to the Virginia game, Owens had not played more than 10 minutes in a game since Jan. 4. against Clemson, at which point he was averaging roughly 15 to 20 minutes a game. Owens played hard defense and hit a few timely threes while spelling Eddie Odio and Alex Dragicevich.

Odio has failed to give his team the energy boost he provided last year. While a thunderous block and deep three highlighted his performance against the ‘Hoos, the forward only mustered one basket and a free throw against Duke.

Neither Owens nor Odio were able to assist BC on the boards, especially on the offensive glass. Virginia and Duke combined to outrebound BC 77-50.
“They’re gonna play four guards,” Bennett said. “They space the floor so well, so they’re not on the offensive glass as much. That’s part of their design.”

February 10, 2014