With a little under ten minutes remaining in the second half of the BC men's basketball game versus Florida Atlantic, an ominously familiar storyline began to unravel.
BC pushed to a 13-point lead early in the second half and was looking to finally pull away from an FAU team that lost to Duke 97-64 on Friday night. But, much like the Toledo game, BC fell silent from the field as the clock waned and the Owls began to slowly, methodically come back.
Baylor transfer Dragan Sekelja worked the interior against BC's Garland Owens and Ryan Anderson all night, bringing his team within one point at the 4:03 mark after a series of nifty, powerful post moves. The 7-foot center from Serbia had 11 points, eight of which came in the last five minutes of the second half.
BC didn't have a defensive answer to Sekelja's post presence, but they didn't need one. Olivier Hanlan stunted any of the momentum FAU had earned by doing what he does best: driving to the basket with the game and livelihood of BC's season in his hands.
Hanlan had 12 of his season-high 38 points with 3:43 to go in the game, and Joe Rahon had 17 points and seven rebounds as BC (1-3) knocked off FAU (1-3) 82-79 on Sunday night at Conte Forum.
"This obviously wasn't the start we wanted going down 0-3, but I think we were feeling the pressure [to get a win]," Rahon said after the game. "From now on we'll be playing a lot freer and smoother."
The team had high expectations coming into the season, with almost every starter of the 2012-13 squad returning and ACC Rookie of the Year Olivier Hanlan at the helm, but fell flat against Providence, UMASS and Toledo last Thursday. Getting win No. 1 was a critical step in the right direction.
"We wanted that first win so bad, it was almost hurting us for as much as we wanted it," a relieved Rahon said. "Now that we've got it in our back pocket, I think we are going to start playing good basketball from here on out."
BC needed to rely on solid free throw shooting at the end of the game to pull off the victory, and got it from Rahon and company. The team ended the night shooting 76% from the line. Hanlan went 10-for-12 in the second half.
"I was just letting things come to me easy," Hanlan said. "I was trying not to force anything... whenever I saw a mismatch in the defense I tried to attack it and get to the line when I could."
BC was again out-rebounded in the second half, and at times FAU seemed to penetrate the BC interior with ease.
Coach Donahue acknowledged that his team needed to step up inside, especially as teams with more talented backcourts come into the picture.
"We obviously have some big deficiencies on the defensive end at this point," Donahue said. "We just don't have a lot of depth up front."
Eddie Odio has a lingering injury, and KC Caudill filled in for much of the time Odio would have received during the game.
If BC's guards can continue their production, though, only a slight defensive improvement will be needed to carry the Eagles for the rest of the season.
Rahon and Hanlan combined for 67% of BC's total scoring against FAU, and the duo will likely need another strong performance against BC's next opponent, UCONN, on Thursday at Madison Square Garden for the 2K Sports Classic.
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