There are good games, bad games, and then there is what happened on Saturday afternoon in Conte Forum.
In its first matchup in ACC play, the Boston College men’s basketball team (1-5, 0-1 ACC) was dismantled by the Syracuse Orange (4-1, 1-0 ACC) in every aspect of the game, losing 101-63.
It was fortunate that no fans were in attendance to see the drubbing first hand.
The Eagles could not find their rhythm offensively or defensively in a very winnable game against a decent yet uninspiring Syracuse team. Still, credit must be given to head coach Jim Boeheim for managing an excellent game on both ends of the floor, as he usually does.
The 78th meeting between the two programs kicked off with defensive breakdowns on the BC end, thanks in part to some miscommunication on their man-to-man defense. That allowed Syracuse forward Marek Dolezaj to get open looks in the paint and Buddy Boeheim to get open looks from beyond the arc.
BC got on the board with a Wynston Tabbs three. The Eagles got some great open looks after but couldn’t knock them down to close the gap.
After a Joe Girard three extended the lead to 13-5, Christian called a timeout to reassess the already-dysfunctional defense.
The Orange lead would only grow after that in the first half.
Dolezaj had a fantastic game for the Orange, not with scoring but with his elite passing. He dished out six assists in the afternoon, which are great numbers for any forward.
His passing, as well as some knockdown shooting inside and outside the arc, put the Orange up 48-30 at the end of the first half.
The second half was more of the same for Syracuse, thanks mostly to the team's ability to share the ball among the team, leading to open shots from three and in the lane.
Christian was forced to call a timeout less than two minutes into the second half after a quick 6-0 Orange run. In the first eight minutes of the second half, the Eagles could only muster five points.
The lead was extended to 36 thanks to, sigh, more threes. The Orange finished the game going an astounding 51.6% from beyond the arc.
The lead reached as high as 46, but a quick offensive spurt towards the end of the game by the Eagles prevented the lead from reaching 50. The game would finish with a final of 101-63, putting BC out of their misery.
The game on Saturday afternoon officially became the worst home loss in program history. For the Orange, it was their best win in ACC history since joining in 2013.
It was a disappointing way to open up conference play and home play at Conte Forum.
Syracuse had all five of its starters finish in double-digits, scoring 80 of the team's 101 points. Buddy Boeheim even passed his father’s record on the Syracuse all-time scoring list with his 17 points.
Thanks to Boeheim’s renowned 2-3 zone defense, the Eagles could not find any offense in the paint and were forced to stay outside and shoot from three.
The Eagles shot an abysmal 25.8% from three on 31 attempts.
It was surprising to see the shots not falling for the Eagles, as guards Rich Kelly, Makai Ashton-Langford, and Jay Heath got open at times but couldn’t convert, shooting a combined 5 for 23 from three-point range.
Head Coach Jim Christian referenced the flat-out sluggish energy the team displayed on the floor. There was no sense of urgency and any desire to win the game was not apparent on the floor.
“I think we came out of the game starting lethargic,” said Christian about the team’s energy. “Sometimes as a head coach you have to take responsibility for things you really have no answer for.”
The Eagles take a ten day break before welcoming the California Golden Bears (2-4, 0-2 PAC-12) for another home matchup in Chestnut Hill.
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