For the first time since the 2001–02 season, Boston College men’s basketball faced a non-conference opponent twice in one season. After losing to Rhode Island 57–49 earlier this week, BC dropped its second contest of the week against the Rams in the Sunshine Slam in Daytona Beach on Sunday.
The 65 points BC (3–3) scored on Saturday against Rhode Island (3–1) would have been enough to secure the Eagles a win the first time around, but it wasn’t enough Saturday night, as the Eagles fell 71–65.
The Eagles got off to a slow start, scoring 24 points in the first 20 minutes of action, shooting 9-of-21 from the field and hitting just one of their seven 3-point attempts.
The main difference between the teams in the first half, however, was the ball protection. The Eagles committed 10 first-half turnovers, and with only three assists as a team, BC trailed 34–24 at the break. Rhode Island was only slightly better in the first, with six turnovers to go along with its seven assists.
After the season opener against Dartmouth on Nov. 9, a game in which the Eagles committed 12 turnovers, BC head coach Earl Grant said 12 was a threshold his team is aiming to stay under this season. BC finished Sunday’s game with 15.
“We lost by six points—that’s a two possession game,” Grant said. “Ten turnovers in the first half. That’s the story of the game.”
Despite turning the ball over a few times himself, freshman guard Jaeden Zackery drove the scoring for BC. Zackery’s 19 points came from 6-of-9 shooting from the field and 4-of-6 from three.
In the second half, the Eagles cleaned up their play, but Rhode Island kept hitting shots. As a team, the Rams shot 52 percent from three and 51 percent from the field. Three of the Rams’ 11 3-pointers came just as BC was able to cut the deficit to within five.
“I’ll give them credit,” Grant said of the Rams. “They shot the ball well. As a coach, that helps. It helps when shots are going in.”
Redshirt junior Antwan Walker scored 15 points for Rhode Island on a perfect 5-of-5 from the field, 2-of-2 from three, and 3-of-3 at the line.
In Wednesday’s loss to the Rams, junior transfer T.J. Bickerstaff posted career highs in points and rebounds, with 22 and 15 respectively. His statline in Saturday’s game read just four points and two rebounds.
Most of what BC got from Bickerstaff in the first matchup though, they found from senior James Karnik in the second. Karnik grabbed 13 boards to go along with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting. As a team, BC out-rebounded Rhode Island 34–20, including 12–2 on the offensive glass.
Despite rebounding the ball well, another glaring statistic from the box score was the bench points from each team. While Rhode Island saw 26 of its 71 points come from its bench, BC had just four points from its bench.
Featured Image by Nicole Vagra / Heights Staff