Boston College and UMass Lowell men’s basketball faced off today for a Sunday matinee . With their 68-66 loss, the Eagles have extended their losing streak to five games. A game full of missed opportunities and a lack of on-court leadership led to a young BC team falling apart late in the game.
BC entered today’s game matching a 3-4 record with the Riverhawks and sporting a four-game losing streak. Their last game ended with a second-half collapse after leading at half as well.
There were many questions to be asked about today’s game and the team that was chosen. Dennis Clifford scored a season-high 17 points in Wednesday’s loss to Penn State, but didn’t see a single minute and was missing from the bench for a good majority of the second half. Eli Carter also didn’t see any playing time, and Matt Milon, one of the team’s best scorers, only saw 18 minutes of action.
Following the game, Coach Christian shared that Carter had aggravated his ankle in the pre-game warm-ups and two players on the team informed him this morning that they had food poisoning. He revealed that one of those players was Jerome Robinson, who played a team-high 34 minutes, led the team with 16 points and had 6 rebounds. Christian never clearly stated who the second player was, but one can assume it was Clifford, who spent the majority of the game uncharacteristically slumped on the bench and then disappeared early into the second.
With players out of position on the court and with BC fielding a majority freshman lineup, their inexperience and lack of leadership on the court played a role in their loss, but excuses aside, the Eagles simply just didn’t execute.
“Just frustrating: wide-open threes, blown switches, things that we thought we had corrected. When you don’t do that, you lose the game,” said Christian. “We had a game plan coming in, but all the guys who knew that game plan were on the sidelines.”
The Eagles and Riverhawks went back and forth throughout the majority of the first half; neither team could really get into a groove. The first half saw sophomore Darryl Hicks scoring his first career points as he drained back-to-back threes. The sophomore went 3-for-4 on field goals and made himself a defensive presence on the court as well.
However, the Eagles’ inability to produce ultimately led to their downfall. They entered the second half with a six-point lead, and were able to extend that lead to 10 early into the half. Yet late in the half, the team began to crumble.
With just under five minutes to play, the Eagles led the Hawks 60-51, but Lowell scored three three’s in a two-and-a-half minute period to pull within one point of the Eagles, who were able to get one off a Johncarlos Reyes-- who finished the game with a double-double, scoring 11 points and getting 14 rebounds-- free throw. In that five-minute period, the Eagles were outscored 14-4 as the Riverhawks took the lead with four of those minutes scoreless for the Eagles.
With 21 seconds left in the game, it was the Eagles who were down one. Their final push led to a lot of back and forth between the teams, but the Eagles ultimately couldn’t capitalize and regain the lead.
What really seemed to do it for the Eagles were the two missed free-throw attempts by Ervins Meznieks with a minute left, when they were down 61-65. Those misses, along with the others, as BC went 12-23 from the line, really came back to haunt the Eagles.
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