Boston College men’s basketball faced the 6-0 DePaul Blue Demons in Conte Forum on Saturday afternoon, falling 72-67. While BC started out a strong 3-0 on the season, the loss to DePaul brings them to 1-2 since then, with the lone win coming against Eastern Washington.
Early on in the game, the Eagles struggled to find the confidence to shoot from behind the arc. They had plenty of open looks, but consistently either passed them up or hesitated just long enough for the defense to make it a tough shot.
As the game progressed, the Eagles were able to find a rhythm behind Jay Heath and Julian Rishwain. The pair of freshmen went a combined 8-for-13 from three-point range and finished with 11 and 15 points, respectively.
DePaul also struggled from three-point range for the better part of the contest, but was able to overcome its shooting struggles due to a strong performance in the post.
The Eagles consistently struggled to match DePaul’s size down low. Throughout the game, the Blue Demons were able to bully the Eagles in the paint, with big men like Jaylen Butz and Paul Reed able to outmuscle Nik Popovic and Steffon Mitchell.
DePaul had six dunks in the game, most notably a fast break slam by Jaylen Butz in the first half, who then proceeded to stare down Jared Hamilton as he walked back on defense.
As the game progressed, players got chippy, and eventually a technical foul resulted in Popovic sitting for a significant period of time due to foul trouble. With Popovic out, the Blue Demons continued to wreak havoc in the paint.
The Eagles’ frontcourt players looked lethargic, and as a result, DePaul was able to secure 16 offensive rebounds. Coming into this game, BC Head Coach Jim Christian made rebounding a major point of emphasis in practice, but was disappointed with his team’s effort.
“We were not committed as a group about doing everything we can. I felt like we stopped playing when shots went up. Guys would stop, walk towards the backboard and hopefully rebound it, and you can’t do that against teams like this,” Christian said.
Another point of emphasis for Christian was the number of turnovers committed.
“You’re not winning this game if you give up 16 offensive rebounds and 16 turnovers. That’s really the game.”
While BC also forced DePaul to commit 16 turnovers, the Blue Demons scored seven more points off turnovers than the Eagles. In a game where DePaul led by only one point with under 40 seconds to play, BC could have significantly improved its chances by taking better care of the ball.
The Eagles briefly got into a passing rhythm after halftime, but soon relapsed into low passes that would be deflected either out of bounds or into a defenders hands to start the fast break.
BC will now look to get back on track Wednesday against another non-conference opponent, St. Louis University, in Conte Forum. St. Louis is another very physical team that excels at rebounding, so the Eagles will likely need to correct the mistakes that plagued them against DePaul in order to bounce back.
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