As a the first week of conference play comes to a close, Boston College Men’s Basketball recovers from a rude awakening to the reality of this year’s ACC. With a date with Duke last Saturday, and Notre Dame Thursday, by no means did this young team expect leave unscathed, but losing the games by a combined 45 points is a bit disappointing for this talented young team.
The Eagles played the Blue Devils on Saturday night. The defending national champions came into Conte Forum ranked 15th in the nation; they proved to be too much for the Eagles to handle, taking the game 81-64.
Through 14 minutes BC and Duke traded baskets and no lead was greater than a possession, but then BC’s inexperience was put on display. They had a turnover, defensive foul and Duke hit two free throws all in one possession. Nearing the end of the half when fatigue started to set in and the initial adrenaline of playing Duke for the first half wore away, BC’s young team lost focus and energy and the Blue Devils lured them into consecutive poor turnovers and unnecessary fouls.
Highly touted Duke Freshman Brandon Ingram showed that the despite being a more talented bunch than last year, this young Eagles team has no answer for true Star players. Ingram is a great player and showed off everything he had in his bag of tricks no matter who BC threw at him. If facing Ervins Meznieks, he would blow by him with speed, hitting a 3 with ease. If challenging the more athletic Garland Owens, he would take him to the block and use his ridiculous length and height to beat his man on the block. Not to mention, Ingram had nine rebounds, three assists and played every minute of the game.
However, the game wasn't completely without bright spots. Dennis Clifford made Duke’s Marshall Plumlee a non-factor, playing great post defense before the catch to make sure he never got into a position where he felt like he could attack. Plumlee finished with just five boards and a single point. This performance didn’t go without notice. "I can remember coming up here a few years ago, and Clifford could hardly walk," said Mike Krzyzewski. "He must have done a lot of stuff, because he moves well. I admire that, that kid's commitment, and his commitment to BC."
After BC’s 17 point loss at the hands of Duke, rival Notre Dame made their trip to Chestnut Hill on Thursday. ND entered the game unranked at 9-4, with a clear blueprint created against them: slow down the pace, guard the arc and attack the rim to get to the line. BC saw UVA do this, they saw Indiana do it, heck even Alabama did it, yet the Eagles could not execute this plan and left Conte with a brutal 82-54 loss.
Mike Bray coached teams are always good offensive groups, but this Notre Dame group was something else. The Irish finished shooting 62.3% from the floor and 64.7% from long range. Yes, that’s right. Notre Dame shot over two percentage points HIGHER from 3 point land.
In contrast, the Eagles shot 33% from the floor and an abysmal 29.6% from deep. Some of this can be chalked up to simply having a bad night putting the ball in the hole, but it wasn’t that simple. The Eagles’ offense looked almost as stagnant as the football team’s offense this past season. It was downright shocking: no movement off the ball, no screens to free up shooters and no one that could create for themselves while their teammates stood and watched.
Every starter for the Fighting Irish finished with double figures; Zach Auguste dominated Clifford and BC’s undersized group in the paint and Demetrius Jackson did whatever he wanted.
Notre Dame played well, as you obviously have to in order to shoot the ridiculous percentages they did, but this team isn’t that good. They are vulnerable defensively, and if disrupted on the perimeter, they can be beat. But the Eagles showed no interest in staying with shooters and ball-watched their way to a near 30 point loss.
It is unclear if this game in an aberration or a sign of a BC team that is regressing and will get trounced nightly in conference play. Hopefully Coach Christian can turn this week into some form of lesson (maybe a “never play like this again” kind of thing) and get the Eagles geared up for their next few contests because it surely doesn’t get any easier.
Despite missing everything else they shot, BC was perfect a perfect 12-12 from the line against ND.
Hopefully Thursday’s version of Eli Carter was the worst we see. He looked unfocused and lost, finishing 4-14 shooting with four turnovers and only a single assist.
BC’s lack of a true Power Forward continues to hurt them on the glass; they were out rebounded by a total of 22 in the two contests.
It doesn’t get any Easier for the Eagles going forward. On Wednesday the Eagles head to the Carrier Dome to take on Syracuse at 7 PM.
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