On Wednesday night, the No. 16 ranked Virginia Cavaliers toppled men's basketball 71-54 in front of a packed crowd at Conte Forum.
With the score 42-25, BC struggled in the first half. Star guard Jerome Robinson was practically invisible, missing his first six shots from the field. Freshman point-guard Ky Bowman, who trails Robinson with only 12.2 points-per-game, was also slow to start.
While the Eagles' offensive leaders failed to deliver, UVA had early success both inside the paint and behind the three-point line. The Cavaliers offense featured a complete team effort, with three players (Devon Hall, Isaiah Wilkins, and Darius Thompason) finishing the game with double-digit scoring totals. On the other side of the ball, the Cavaliers played disciplined defense and eliminated opportunities for the Eags to push the fast break as usual.
UVA Coach Tony Beckett praised his team, but he also offered a blunt analysis of the game.
“They were off shooting; they missed a lot of shots,” Beckett said of the Eagles' offensive woes. With a patchwork-starting lineup comprised of young stars like Robinson and Bowman along with older transfers including Mo Jeffers and Connar Tava, the team floundered under the spotlight.
The Eagles shot a low 38.5% from the floor for the night, as opposed to UVA's 51.9%. Robinson and Bowman, who combined for merely 16 points, found scarce success on offense. As for three-point shooting, the Eagles succeeded on only 5 of 20 total attempts. The Eagles’ shooting performance was a far cry from their respectable season average of 37.7% behind the arc.
The Cavaliers continued to run offense, finding open shooters through outstanding ball movement. However, with Nik Popovic and Jordan Chatman added into the second-half starting lineup, BC continued to fight. Chatman, a graduate transfer from BYU, put on his best performance of the season and led all scorers with 16 points and two three-pointers.
As the season progresses, efforts from bench players like Chatman will be even more critical for Coach Jim Christian’s team. With Bowman, Robinson, and the rest of the starters struggling, Coach Christian lauded Chatman’s play.
“He was aggressive; he was confident,” Christian said.
Despite a poor first half, Jerome Robinson hit a baseline shot early in the second half to cut the lead to twelve. But for the rest of the game the story was the same; poor shooting and 16 careless turnovers ultimately doomed the Eagles. Coach Christian expressed frustration with his team’s lack of effort and hustle.
“I don’t think we came out to play with the energy and emotion you need to play a ranked team,” Christian said.
The road won’t get any easier for the Eagles, as they prepare to host the No. 9 ranked University of North Carolina, another ACC conference team and national powerhouse, at home this Saturday.
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