Sports, Basketball

MEN’S BASKETBALL: BC Frozen In Georgia Tech Matchup

Facing a deficit with less than a minute to play, the Eagles put the ball into Olivier Hanlan’s hands. Hanlan lowered his head, drove hard to his left, and sank a contested mid-range jumper with 3.4 seconds to play, giving the Eagles a lead. With little time left on the game clock and a one-point lead at the McCamish Pavilion, Hanlan and the Boston College men’s basketball team appeared to be turning a corner against Georgia Tech.

After close losses to teams including Notre Dame, Toledo, and Providence, the Eagles’ efforts were paying dividends and they would finally be able to claim a quality win against a conference opponent. They had played a full 40 minutes of good basketball. They limited their turnovers to five. They had spread out their offensive attack, almost matching Georgia Tech’s points in the paint while also converting nine 3-pointers. It seemed like enough.

Cue Marcus Georges-Hunt.

Coming out of a timeout that seemed like a formality at the time, Georgia Tech inbounded the ball to Georges-Hunt, who ran the floor and created space on a screen before pulling up for a 35-footer over Lonnie Jackson. The ball swished through the bucket and a foul was called, making it a four-point play with less than a second on the clock. Final Score: Georgia Tech 74, Boston College 71.

Georges-Hunt totaled 11 points and five rebounds in addition to his last-second heroics. Daniel Miller also wreaked havoc for Georgia Tech, taking advantage of BC’s smaller lineups and adding 18 points, two blocks, and a steal. Role players Kammeon Holsey and Robert Carter Jr. collectively contributed a solid 25 points and 14 rebounds in the Georgia Tech win. Georgia Tech’s win came at a desperate time after dropping consecutive games to Virginia and Clemson. The team has also been forced to adjust to the losses of Solomon Poole and Trae Gordon.

For the Eagles, this game was a microcosm of the season. After maintaining an edge for much of the game and leading by five points with three minutes left, they had total control. In those final minutes, however, Georgia Tech executed on both sides of the ball by converting buckets while also limiting BC to two points.

Despite the continued struggles down the stretch in close games, the Eagles found many bright spots. Olivier Hanlan opened the game by scoring 10 of the team’s first 21 points, and added nine points in the final 10 minutes of the second half. The trio of Jackson, Joe Rahon, and Ryan Anderson complemented Hanlan offensively by posting 33 points and eight assists.

Coach Donahue jumbled the typical lineups by starting freshmen Will Magarity and Garland Owens. Each freshman played about 20 minutes of action and contributed primarily on the defensive side of the ball. The Eagles’ defense showed a more aggressive style in this game by challenging Georgia Tech’s guards on the perimeter. As a result, the Yellow Jackets shot 33.3 percent from beyond the arc but were able to counter by feeding the ball to Miller, Holsey, and Carter Jr. on the inside. The Eagles compiled an impressive eight steals and two blocks in the solid defensive effort. They were unable to rebound effectively on the defensive boards, however, surrendering 13 offensive boards.

Ultimately, even though Boston College has undergone improvement throughout the year, many of the same problems linger. BC has little time to recover, as the Eagles face Notre Dame at home and a trip to the Carrier Dome to play undefeated Syracuse in the upcoming week. With seven regular season games remaining, there is not much time for the team to find a rhythm before ACC Tournament play begins.

February 17, 2014