Men's Basketball

Three Up, Three Down: Milon Steps Up And Diallo Fouls Out

Sunday’s victory over Harvard spurred Boston College men’s basketball to its best start in seven years and sets the stage for a big game on Thanksgiving day against Michigan State. The Eagles shot terribly in the first half and were lucky to only be down four at the break, but they turned things around in the second half and eventually put the Crimson away.


  1. Matt Milon’s Offensive Outburst

Matt Milon was the first player off the bench and played with great poise on both ends of the floor for all of his 25 minutes. Milon led the Eagles in scoring with 16 points, sinking four 3-pointers in the process. Milon’s hot shooting allowed BC to space the floor, opening up the paint for the likes of Eli Carter and Dennis Clifford.

“Matt really stepped up for us tonight,” BC head coach Jim Christian said after the game. “He’s getting better each and every night.”

The extra defensive attention Milon garnered also resulted in open looks for Ervins Meznieks, who scored nine points in the second half. Milon’s play was extremely encouraging off the bench and provided the Eagles with much-needed offense on a day when Carter and Jerome Robinson struggled to score.

  1. Dennis Clifford Earns Reason to Celebrate

“I thought this was as hard as Dennis has played since I’ve been here,” Christian said.

It was Clifford’s energy, defense, and rebounding prowess that allowed the Eagles to survive an ice-cold first half, helping them to separate from the Crimson down the stretch. Clifford played big, snaring a career-high 12 rebounds—11 of them defensive—despite logging only 24 minutes due to foul trouble. While Clifford let a number of potential rebounds slip through his fingers in the two previous games, on Sunday afternoon he secured every rebound that came his way, and never allowed Harvard to poke the ball away from him. Clifford left his fingerprints all over this game: hitting free throws, blocking shots, dishing out assists, and again, clearing the glass.

As a result of Clifford’s efforts the Eagles outrebounded the Crimson by a margin of 37-33 and allowed only four second-chance points. When Clifford finally came out of the game for good with 24 seconds left and BC was up big, there was joy written all over his face. Clifford ran to the bench, his arms held out wide and playfully shoved Idy Diallo while his teammates laughed and Conte Forum showered him with applause. It has been awhile since Dennis Clifford has appeared to have this much fun playing basketball.

  1. Eli Carter’s second half shoes

Eli Carter made a shoe change at halftime, and boy did it make a difference. After having suffered through a scoreless first half, Carter began the second period like a man on a mission, quickly drawing a foul on a drive to the hoop en route to scoring 15 second-half points for the Eagles.

“Let’s never see those first half shoes again,” Christian joked.

Carter has been BC’s most consistent player so far this season. He would have matched his point total from the CCSU game if he had hit his free throws late in the game, but he missed three foul shots in the waning minutes.


  1. Idy Diallo Fouls Out Again

Idy Diallo found a way to foul out unintentionally despite playing only six minutes. Incredibly enough, this marks the second time that Diallo has fouled out despite playing fewer than 10 minutes in the Eagles’ first three games. After committing his fifth and final foul with 10 minutes left in the game, Diallo lingered on the court, seemingly basking in the moment’s significance. Reluctant to go back to the bench, Diallo stood on the court until PA announcer Andy Jick confirmed that it was indeed he who had committed the foul, at which time he bowed his head and returned to the bench for the last time.

“He needs to understand that we have to watch every foul he commits,” Christian said. “He gets too worked up in the game I think, and he tries to overcompensate when he gets caught out of position.”   

  1. First Half Eli Carter

As good as Eli Carter was in the second half, he was that bad in the first half—missing every one of his six shots and throwing up not one but two airballs. Granted, he was being defended spectacularly by Harvard’s stopper Agunwa Okolie—a 6-foot-8 senior forward from Canada—but for the second straight game Carter failed to provide any offense in the first 20 minutes, which was a big reason why the Eagles only scored 16 points in the first half.

In addition to not scoring, Carter also recorded only one assist in the first half (finishing with five for the game). It didn’t come back to bite the Eagles this week, but BC cannot afford for Carter to wait until the second half to get going when they play Michigan State on Thanksgiving Day.

  1. Zena’s Paradox

In addition to having an alien name, Harvard’s junior forward Zena Edosomwan punished the Eagles with a 20-point, nine-rebound performance less than a year after barely playing in an overtime loss to BC.

“I think that guy is the most improved player in the country,” Christian said about Zena. “Last year I think he played three minutes [against the Eagles] and got called for travelling twice.”

Most of Zena’s damage occurred during the time Johncarlos Reyes spent guarding him. Reyes shows obvious defensive potential for a freshman, but he was eaten alive by Zena on Sunday and needs to grow up quickly if he is going to be ready to play against Michigan State.  

Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor


November 22, 2015