Men's Basketball

Notebook: Backcourt Makes up for Another Slow Start in Win Over Raiders

This year, the success story of Boston College men’s basketball appears to be the team’s ability to rally after slow starts. Prior to the Eagles’ matchup against Colgate on Wednesday, BC overcame six- and eight-point deficits against Maine and Sacred Heart, respectively, before winning both games by 20 points. Wednesday was no different by any means. The Eagles were down by 14 points at the end of the first half, but made the necessary adjustments in the latter portion of play to come away with an 83-79 victory.

Three Up

1) Robinson’s Run

Down 15 with just 15 minutes remaining in the second half, the Thanksgiving crowd in Conte Forum was ready to call it quits. Then came Jerome Robinson. The preseason All-ACC Second Team guard pulled off a phenomenal sequence of plays that led to a tie game in just nine minutes of game time. First, he swatted away a potential layup off the glass and made a 3-pointer on the other end. Later, after a Colgate (2-2) airball, Robinson hit another one from deep, bringing BC (5-1) within seven of the Raiders. A sweet drive from the junior was sandwiched between another great series by Robinson—one in which he stole the ball, hit a triple, and then picked up another steal that led to a pair of Teddy Hawkins free throws that gave the Eagles the lead. Colgate took a timeout, but came back onto the court looking defeated and scared. Robinson capped off his 12-point outburst in just four minutes and ended with a game-high 26. He had completely taken charge of the game—literally. In his final highlight play of the game, Robinson took a charge on what surely would have been a Colgate layup, keeping the momentum on BC’s side for good. In the second half, Robinson was in his own world.

“It just feels like everything’s coming your way,” Robinson said. “You don’t need to look in front of you and just like you’re in practice.”

2) On Point

Once again, Ky Bowman’s athleticism was on full display. The former Alabama football recruit had a commanding presence in the ways he was able to control the game on both the offensive and defensive sides of the court. After the team had scored just two points in the first six minutes of play, Bowman hit a beautiful baseline 10-footer on the run to get the offense going.   

Most notably, he intercepted a Colgate pass midway through the second half, and sprinted to the other end of the floor, where he threw down a punishing one-handed slam. Bowman also made a tremendous hustle play when diving out of bounds to save a loose ball that was tossed back to Robinson. On defense, he had two steals, and was the heart and soul of BC’s full-court press that halted the high flying Colgate offense. The 6-foot-1 point guard was also the only player in the game with multiple blocks. With less than a minute left in a still competitive game, Bowman sent a hook shot flying out of bounds that drew high fives from his teammates. The star guard went above and beyond his expectations in this one, and finished with 19 points.

3) Calm, Cool, and Collected Christian

When any ACC team enters the break down 14 points to a Patriot League foe, let alone at home, the coach is often the one held accountable. But they’re also the one that’s praised if their team claws its way back to victory. Although Robinson led the way during a 28-7 run in the second half, it was BC head coach Jim Christian who kept his players in check, and never let them lose their heads against the Raiders. Timeouts were called strategically, and timely traps and presses were implemented. Christian also made sure to keep his foot on the gas even after taking the lead late in the game, helping BC reach its first double-digit lead of the evening with less than five minutes remaining in the contest.

Three Down

1) Apple Turnovers

All other BC students had already made their trips home for Thanksgiving break, but BC decided to do some traveling of its own. The Eagles were called for the violation on five separate occassions throughout the game, and whether or not it was a matter of strict officiating, it was ugly, to say the least. Overall, BC finished with 17 turnovers, one more than Colgate. The main culprits were some of the game’s best performers. Robinson coughed up the ball five times, while Hawkins would have had a triple-double in points, rebounds, and turnovers had he given up the ball another four times.   

2) Slow-Cooked Victory

Just like it has all season, BC started off Wednesday’s game looking sluggish. The team scored the first bucket of the game, but then allowed the Raiders to go on a 13-0 run over the next four minutes. The Eagles continued to sag off the 3-point line, as Colgate finished the first half with eight makes from beyond the arc, and proceed to shoot a total of 42 treys over the course of the game. Colgate’s 24 points off 3-pointers in the first half were just three shy of BC’s total scoring output in the period. The Eagles were fortunate not to be down by even more, as a couple of the Raiders’ misses came on open looks, where the ball rattled in and out of the hoop.   

3) Meatless Subs

It seems like Christian is intent on keeping his core five in games for as long as possible this season. Only three players made it off the bench for BC, scoring an embarrassing one combined point in the first half on a free throw from Steffon Mitchell. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Johncarlos Reyes only saw two minutes of action, picking up two fouls which may have limited his time on the floor. His playing time has gone down in each game this season after scoring 12 points in the season opener. On the other hand, freshman Luka Kraljevic received some playing time and snagged a couple of rebounds. But even he was only awarded four minutes over the course of the game. Christian’s bench was brutally outscored, 25-5. The fourth-year man needs to figure out his team’s depth going forward, as injuries and fatigue are practically inevitable come conference play.  

Featured Image by Jake Evans / Heights Staff

November 23, 2017