Friday, November 20, 2009

St. Joseph's 84 Boston College 80

The Scoreboard
                   1       2       F
St. Joseph's 39 45 84
Boston College 40 40 80
The Story...

The night began with such promise as the Eagles put their full starting lineup on display for the first time all season. But what began as a good night BC basketball quickly became a nightmare as Rakim Sanders badly rolled an ankle in the opening 3 minutes and did not return. Making matters worse was Corey Raji picking up 2 quick fouls and having sit out almost the entire half. To top it off, the Hawks ran out to a quick 9-2 lead and it seemed everything would come unraveled for the Eagles early. But as they often do, they rallied back behind Joe Trapani (20 points) to take a 1 point lead at halftime. In the 2nd half though, Darrin Govens and the rest of his team caught fire from deep (10-21 3FG) to go ahead by as many as 8 before holding off a late BC rally that included 2 point blank misses with under 5 seconds remaining that would have tied the game. St. Joe's was led by senior guard Garrett Williamson (18 points).

By the Numbers...

+8/+6...If you had told me that BC would out-rebound the Hawks 46-38 and turn the ball over just 5 times to St. Joe's 11, I'd have told you the Eagles won this game by 30. These were 2 of the 3 hot button issues facing the 09-10 Boston College basketball team and the won both of these categories. Biko Paris in particular deserves credit for his floor management and presence (4 assists, no turnovers, perfect from the line). So how, you ask, did the Eagles lose this game? Read on...

48%...Remember those 2 hot button issues that they were solid on? Well the 3rd was perimeter defense, which was a colossal failure in this game. The Hawks shot 48% from 3 land in the game and made 6 3's in the 2nd half. The 3 ball became more of a factor in the 2nd half after the Eagles guards were completely incapable of keeping the Hawks perimeter players out of the paint (Carl Jones in particular). In the 2nd half, the Eagles adjusted and started collapsing the paint which resulted in wide open drive and kick plays which ultimately was the undoing of the Eagles.

27...This question hasn't been sufficiently answered yet, and unless he was injured we likely never will get one. Why did Joe Trapani play only 27 minutes and sit the final 9 minutes of the game? Was he injured? Did Skinner not like the way he was playing? If he wasn't injured (and there was no indication he was), it's hard to explain why the leading scorer on the team and, with Rakim Sanders on the bench, their most skilled offensive player was on the bench.

Thumbs Up...

Reggie Jackson

Yes, he blew a complete bunny at the rim in the closing seconds that would have sent it to overtime, but the kid is playing fabulous basketball on the offensive end. He led the team in rebounds (11) and also chipped in with 18 points and 4 assists. When he figures out things defensively, he'll be frightening.

Joe Trapani

Joe, when he was in the game, was a force on both ends. He easily had his best game of the season despite a so-so shooting percentage. He found other ways to contribute in the game either by rebounding (8), or on the defensive end (1 steal, 2 blocks). He was constantly put in the position of having to try and erase his teammates mistakes defensively, did an admirable job, and was the reason the team led at half.

Thumbs Down...

Al Skinner

I won't single out the defense, or the play calling, or the blown layup at the buzzer. But I will harp on the fact that Al looked like he didn't have this team ready to play the game. And after things went wrong (Sanders getting hurt, 2 quick fouls on Raji) it seemed like the team struggled with focus and intensity the rest of the night. Then of course there was the fact that Al seemed to forget that Joe Trapani was on the bench. Al was not on his game tonight and did not put the team in the best position to win the game.

Josh Southern

I've talked at length about how important it is for Southern to be able to hold his own against some of the better centers that he'll play against in the country. And on this night, Josh struggled again, mustering just 6 point and 4 rebounds in just 20 minutes. He was constantly pushed around inside and had his shot blocked several times by smaller players. Josh often times seems to be going through the motions and doesn't seem to be improving from his freshman year.

Overall...

My concerns about the Eagles ability to keep opposing teams out of the paint were confirmed tonight as time after time the BC perimeter players stuck to screens like velcro and the help was late. This resulted in fouls, free throws, and easy points for the Hawks. As the game progressed, the team committed to defending the paint by packing it in, thus leaving open the 3 point line where St. Joe's successfully bombed away to the tune of almost 50%. The Eagles meanwhile went ice cold for a 5 minute stretch after Tyler Roche hit back to back 3's to give the Eagles a lead. That stretch included turnovers, poor ball movement, bad shots, and poor transition defense. If you remember back to the team preview, I mentioned that this team had great potential, but there were also major red flags that could result in a 2nd losing season in 3 years. This was not even close to the best team they'll play this year, meaning that against better teams, if the defense improve, things could get very ugly.

Stay Tuned For...

I'll try and get up a preview of the BC-North Dakota State game tomorrow but no guarantees. I'll be at the BC-UNC football game taking pictures. The pictures, along with a recap of the game should be up sometime tomorrow night. Enjoy the weekend!

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