Sports, Men's Basketball

Notebook: Hamilton Brothers, Mitchell Impress in Overtime Loss

In yet another overtime heartbreaker, Boston College men’s basketball found itself suffering its ninth conference loss of the year after falling apart in the extra frame. On the road at North Carolina State, the Eagles followed a familiar script: They used a valiant effort to ensure a late-game comeback to take a slight lead before the game’s final minutes, then blew it and sent the game to overtime where they ultimately fell, 89-80. After grinding out back-to-back wins, it looked like the Eagles (13-12, 4-9 Atlantic Coast) might have some momentum going into the home stretch, but that was cut short on Wednesday night. Here are five takeaways from the tough setback to the Wolfpack (19-8, 7-7):

1) Super Hamilton Bros.

Jairus and Jared Hamilton had a great game on Wednesday night, posting 27 points between the pairing. At halftime, the duo had their points evenly distributed with nine apiece. The brothers have complementary games, with Jared a shifty 6-foot-4 shooting guard who is comfortable both attacking the basket or settling for mid-range jumpers, while Jairus can stretch it out beyond the arc—he only hit 1-of-5 against N.C. State but had sunk four of his last five the two games prior—or get inside with his 6-foot-8, 230-pound frame. It was the freshman Jairus, though, who stepped up in the biggest moment, knocking down a mid-range jumper that handed BC a 73-72 lead with 51 seconds left.

2) What Could Have Been

Before leaving the game with an injury, Jordan Chatman was 4-of-6 from three and accumulated his 12 points in just 18 minutes of play. He scored nine of his team’s first 12 points and was clearly firing on all cylinders—it seemed the senior was poised for another game like the one back in January 2017 against Virginia Tech where he connected on nine 3-pointers. Instead, the nagging finger injury that held him to 22 minutes just two games ago returned, and he was on the bench for rest of the game. With Chatman still in the game, this may have been a much more attainable win down the stretch, as he led the team with 17 points the game prior against Miami.

3) Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Ky

There were two completely different halves for Ky Bowman last night, each determining the pace of the game. Surprisingly, it took Bowman until the remaining seven minutes of the first half before he recorded his first bucket. In those seven minutes alone, however, he was able to put up seven points. Bowman would finish the night with 16 points, 12 of them being from beyond the arc. Two of these 3-pointers came from back-to-back plays in the late stages of the game. Bowman pulled up automatically once given a little space and brought the game within one, before sinking an even tougher second consecutive shot and putting the Eagles up two. He was particularly effective on the pick-and-roll with Nik Popovic, too, who had a team-high 18 points.

4) Mean, Lean, Rebounding Machine

Steffon Mitchell has proven that he has a plethora of reasons for being on the court as much as possible, and one of those reasons is his ability to grab rebounds. No matter how late in the game, you are always going to see Mitchell come down with some big-time boards. Yesterday was no exception, as the forward logged 13 rebounds—the most of any player—five of which came on the offensive end. These offensive boards were huge, as Mitchell was actually putting the ball right back up before coming down with it. He finished with seven points on two shots and six free throw attempts, marking back-to-back games with at least seven points after failing to reach that mark once in his previous 11 contests. If Mitchell can continue to make putbacks more a part of his game, then he’ll be even more well-rounded and dangerous player on both ends. With him and Popovic on the floor together—and Mitchell looking for scoring opportunities—it looks like an above-average front court.

5) Going, Going Gone

While the second-half comeback was remarkable—BC trailed by as much as 14 to its hosts—considering the path of the season, it makes sense that this game went to overtime. Both of the Eagles’ overtime losses came after BC had a late-game lead before blowing it and faltering in the extra period. The Wolfpack was able to capitalize on the overworked Eagles’ defensive front and land a few and-one opportunities. All of this went N.C. State’s way, as BC failed to put any numbers up for the first couple minutes of overtime.

This game was a stark reminder of the inconsistency the team has suffered through this year. First, the Eagles look hot out the gate, then the opposing team goes on a run and it looks pretty glum halfway through the first half. This is, of course, followed by the late first-half run when BC brings it within a possession or two, all while maintaining hopes at halftime. The second half begins with the opposing team going on a great stretch of scoring where the score is run up by nearly 20. This is then the make-or-break point for the Eagles, where they go on a fantastic run late in the game to bring it close and secure a win or send it to overtime. For Eagles fans, it has to be beyond frustrating to watch.

Featured Image by Ethan Hyman / News & Observer via AP

February 21, 2019