It came down to the wire, but Boston College men’s basketball dropped another ACC matchup, this time to Georgia Tech. The Eagles (7-22, 0-16 Atlantic Coast) gave the Yellow Jackets (16-12, 7-9) a scare late in the game, but ultimately fell 76-71. Here’s what stood out today:
SBT and the Three– Freshman Sammy Barnes-Thompkins couldn’t miss today. He came into the contest averaging 5.3 points per game, but exploded for a career-high 15 against the Yellow Jackets. Barnes-Thompkins went 5-for-8 from downtown, including a couple of deep threes. His hot shooting energized the Eagles and kept them within striking distance. Following BC’s run to pull within two in the second half, head coach Jim Christian sent him back into the game, hoping that his hot shooting would help the Eagles take the lead. Barnes-Thompkins wasn’t able to convert any more threes, but did record several assists and an offensive rebound to help the Eagles fight back against the Yellow Jackets.
Offensive Boards– Georgia Tech outrebounded BC overall, 27 to 23, but the Eagles’ offensive boards helped them cut into the lead. Dennis Clifford and Garland Owens each contributed two offensive rebounds as the Eagles tallied 10 overall. One of Clifford’s rebounds proved especially important, as it resulted in an Eli Carter jump shot to pull BC within four points of the Yellow Jackets. The offensive boards allowed the Eagles to score 13 second-chance points on the day, keeping them in the game and allowing them to give Georgia Tech a real scare.
Heart– There’s something to be said for heart and hustle. Just two games ago, BC had an absolutely dismal performance at Wake Forest, showing no desire to be competitive and scrape out a win. Today, the Eagles refused to quit. Starting in the second half, they never stopped fighting and never allowed the Yellow Jackets to settle in with a comfortable lead. An initial run in the second half cut Georgia Tech’s lead to 56-54. Almost immediately, the Yellow Jackets started to pull away again. It would’ve been easy to give up, but the Eagles didn’t back down. They continued to play tough and chip away at the lead, resulting in another run to bring them within four. It didn’t go without notice.
“We played a team that, especially in the second half, played extremely hard and did a lot of good things against us,” Georgia Tech head coach Brian Gregory said. “They really gave us a lot of problems.”
Eli Carter– There were some bright spots from Carter today. He totaled 25 points, nine assists, and four rebounds. But he also committed 10 of the team’s 15 turnovers on the day. Two of his turnovers came before he scored, and one of them came after he dribbled the ball off of his own foot. At various points, Carter tried to force passes to heavily defended teammates, resulting in more turnovers. He also seemed selfish at times, forcing up shots instead of kicking the ball out to open teammates. He went 3-from-8 from beyond the arc on the day. Carter took responsibility for his sloppy play after the game.
“I just got careless with the ball,” he said.
Defending the Post– Georgia Tech overpowered BC in the post, especially early in the game. The Yellow Jackets’ big men—Nick Jacobs and Quinton Mitchell—powered down and controlled the lane, where most of Georgia Tech’s early points came. Christian discussed the defensive weaknesses after the game.
“Obviously in the first half, defensively, we did a really poor job of one-on-one defense, especially inside,” he said. “We adjusted some things to take away some of the post. We were going to double the four-man and let Dennis play down there but Jacobs was a really good player in the first half.”
Jacobs finished with 12 points on the day. His early dominance in the lane helped Georgia Tech jump out to an early lead that BC would scramble to close for the rest of the game.
Fouls– The Yellow Jackets went 27-for-33 from the free throw line on the day. By contrast, the Eagles went 5-for-7. Nobody can win a game in which he only gets seven free throw opportunities while giving his opponent 33 chances. While some of the Eagles’ fouls were smart plays, especially toward the end of the game, many were unnecessary. Furthermore, some BC fouls came at crucial moments. When Georgia Tech led 63-58, a Clifford foul sent Quinton Stephens to the line for two. Stephens drained both free throws to build the lead back up for the Yellow Jackets.
Christian emphasized the importance of drawing fouls after the game. “They were doing a much better job at getting fouled on very similar plays,” he said. “We have to get fouled to keep that number more than 33 to seven.”
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor