Top Story, Men's Basketball

Eagles Embarrassed by Wake Forest, Put Up Worst ACC First Half This Season

All good things must come to an end—or so we’ve all been told. But what about bad things? They must meet a merciful death at some point too, yes?

Well, it depends on who you ask.

On Sunday night in humid Winston-Salem, N.C., Boston College (7-20, 0-14 Atlantic Coast) reached the bottom of the college basketball abyss.

Doral Moore of Wake Forest University (11-16, 2-13) scored 19 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and recorded three blocks—all career highs—to end the Demon Deacons’ 11-game skid. But his effort helped keep very much alive two ignominious streaks for the Eagles, who remain winless in conference play after the 74-48 loss.

With 3:32 to go in a first half that defied all basketball logic, BC head coach Jim Christian stood in front of his bench, expressionless, staring at Darryl Hicks.

The sophomore guard had just floated a cross-court pass intended for Eli Carter from the left side of his own 3-point line. Wake Forest’s Bryant Crawford swooped in for the steal, and the ensuing layup pushed the score to 37-4.

That play, that gaze of utter disbelief, was the low point of the low point of BC’s season.

For the game, the Eagles turned the ball over 18 times. They shot 31 percent from the floor, including an unconscionable 6-of-30 from beyond the arc. They went scoreless for the game’s first seven minutes. Again, they did not score a single point for seven straight minutes to begin the game.

On the other side of the box score, five Demon Deacons scored in double figures. Wake Forest shot 44.4 percent from three and, as a team, dished 17 assists, nearly four more than its season average.

Head coach Danny Manning’s team was without the services of starting forward Devin Thomas, who sat out for the first of a two-game suspension for violating athletic department policy.

The absence of Thomas, one of the ACC’s top rebounders at 10.2 per game, proved a blessing in disguise for Manning because it opened up minutes for Moore, Wake Forest’s most heralded recruit in this year’s freshman class.

Almost from the opening tip, the contest’s fate was sealed. Making his first career start, Moore slammed home a trio of dunks on the Demon Deacons’ first three offensive opportunities.

On the other end, the reverse was happening.

Senior Dennis Clifford dropped pass after pass on the interior. Freshman Matt Milon blew a wide-open layup on the Eagles’ first possession. Carter, who rode the bench to start the game due to questionable shot selection in recent action, entered the lineup and immediately launched a baffling blizzard of ill-conceived bricks.

For the Eagles, flat play from the tip gave way to anxiety. Anxiety quickly morphed into hopelessness. And hopelessness, ultimately, spawned indifference. The death knell tolled.

In the cruelest twist of irony in recent NCAA history, Carter drilled a half-court shot at the buzzer before the break. The scoreboard read 41-14.

The Eagles attempted to save face with an 11-2 run before the first media timeout of the second half, but there’s no saving a face that’s been burned off in the fires of basketball hell.

Garland Owens’ two second-half alley-oops couldn’t possibly repair the damage done in the game’s first 20 minutes. His 13 points and five rebounds wouldn’t possibly do the trick either.

BC even outscored Wake Forest 34-33 in the second period, but Christian kept his usual rotation in the game while Manning rested his starters.

After 14 straight losses—all but one by double digits—the BC faithful are tired of conjuring up silver linings.

Going winless in conference play is bad, indeed.

When will it all end?

Featured Image by Walt Unks / The Winston-Salem Journal

February 21, 2016