Lights-out shooting in the second half, spearheaded by Jerome Robinson, was not enough to save the Eagles from their defensive struggles, as they fell to No. 25 Clemson at Conte Forum on Wednesday.
The Eagles’ first half was plagued by costly turnovers and sloppy defense, granting the Tigers open shots and free layups. At the same time, BC failed to generate much offense, as they elected to take heavily contested shots instead of slowing down the game and searching for a defensive opening. As a result, the Tigers led the Eagles 38-23 at the half.
Throughout the game, the Eagles suffered from foul trouble, giving up 18 points on free throws alone. Coach Jim Christian runs a very slim lineup, giving the Eagles little room for error on the defensive end. The Eagles will have to play a more disciplined game for all 40 minutes if they want to see more wins against tough ACC competitors.
The second half of the game teased an Eagles comeback thanks to the eruption of Robinson, as he scored 26 of his game-high 28 points after the break. Wednesday's 28 points followed the junior guard's career-high 29 against Virginia earlier this week.
Even though the Eagles were able to tie the game at 68 with about a minute remaining, they were never able to secure a lead, and they quickly ran into a two-point deficit after a Steffon Mitchell foul on Marcquise Reed with 0:48 remaining.
While the Tigers might have had problems dealing with Robinson in the second half, the Eagles did not have a solution for forward Donte Grantham all night. The senior was effective in all areas of the court, posting 23 points (7-11 FG), 14 rebounds, five assists, and three steals. Grantham led his team in all four of those categories.
The Eagles are now 1-2 in ACC play and 10-5 for the season, while the Tigers improved to 13-1 on their season record.
It is no secret that the Eagles’ success weighs on the dynamite guard trio of Robinson, Ky Bowman, and Jordan Chatman. When they are playing at their best, the Eagles have the firepower to dethrone teams such as then-No. 1 Duke.
However, Chatman, who came in averaging 14.6 points per game, contributed zero points on just two attempted shots against Clemson. Similarly, the Eagles’ last game against Virginia saw Bowman fall behind as Robinson and Chatman combined for 47 of the team’s 58 points. When two of the three are playing well, the Eagles are competitive. When all three are at the top of their game, the Eagles are victorious.
Even though BC has now narrowly lost their last two games to top 25 teams, their tremendous growth is unquestionable. The team's persistence and resilient nature poses a real threat to the ACC this year.
The Eagles will seek another conference win on Saturday, Jan. 6 when they take on Wake Forest at Conte Forum.
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