Sunday, December 6, 2009

Boston College 61 Miami 60

The Scoreboard
                   1      2      F
Miami 25 35 60
Boston College 31 30 61
The Story...

For the 3rd consecutive game the Eagles played a tremendous first half, this time led by the electric Reggie Jackson, and ran out to a solid 6 point lead at halftime. Immediately after the half, BC came out with the intensity necessary to put the previously undefeated Hurricanes down for the count, leading by as much as 17. But, also for the 3rd consecutive game, the team fell asleep at the wheel down the stretch and allowed Miami back in the game. The 'Canes had 3 chances to either tie or win the game in the final minute, but Jackson grabbed 2 rebounds off those chances and sank 4 free throws to preserve the win. It was the first loss for Miami this season and BC's 3rd consecutive win after an ugly showing in the Paradise Jam.

By the Numbers...

34.5%...BC's shooting percentage for the game. The Eagles made just 20 of 58 shots in the game and were even worse from the 3 point line in the game (3-18). It stands to reason that under that scenario, they'd have lost the game most times. So, what did BC do so well as to offset the shooting woes? Well...

20-3...The astounding offensive rebounding edge that BC had against Miami. Of the 38 shots the Eagles missed during the game, they rebounded over half of them. That is an absolutely amazing number and is the sole reason BC held on to win the game. Miami managed just 19 total rebounds in the game to BC's 43. I made a huge deal about BC's rebounding question marks entering the season, but they've quickly made a fool of me. They're tops in the ACC presently in rebounding and have outrebounded every opponent so far this season.

7:3...Biko Paris' assist to turnover ratio. Paris has gone relatively unnoticed this season due to the emergence of Reggie Jackson and Corey Raji this season, but Biko has done a nice job of managing the team and not turning the ball over. One major area of concern was BC's ability to handle ball pressure. That is another situation in which BC has excelled this season and much of the credit goes to the junior from New Orleans.

Thumbs Up...

Reggie Jackson

I'm running out superlatives for this guy. He has absolutely done it all for the Eagles this season in an effort to prove that Rakim Sanders wasn't the sole offensive option for this team. His athleticism and high motor have provided the Eagles with an energy that hasn't been seen on the Heights since Troy Bell roamed the campus. His dunk in the 2nd half was thunderous and really provided an emotional lift for the team. Jackson led the team today with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists with only 2 turnovers. More importantly, he grabbed 2 huge rebounds in the final minute and made clutch free throws when the game was on the line. Reggie now leads the team in rebounding with 8.1. As a reminder, Jackson is only 6'3.

Corey Raji

Like Jackson, Corey Raji has made the most of his increased role in the offense while Rakim Sanders continues to recover from a badly sprained right ankle. Raji was the only player on the team to shoot over 50% from the field today (6-13, 17 points) and also grabbed 9 rebounds, 7 of them offensive. Raji also improved on his dismal free throw shooting by making 5-6 from the line. He also, as usual, guarded the most explosive offensive player from the other team, holding guard James Dews to half of his season average.

Thumbs Down...

Joe Trapani

This has got to stop. Trapani, after being one of the most efficient players on the team last season (44% shooting), has struggled mightily with his shot this season and his 1-13 today was simply awful. Joe has now dropped below 37% shooting for the season despite (or perhaps because of) his increased role in the offensive scheme. It's still early in the season, so a turnaround certainly isn't out of the question, but you get the feeling that the more the competition level goes up, the more he is going to struggle.

Overall...

After a great deal of public questioning of this teams character (myself included), the team has risen to the challenge winning games against quality opponents while being short handed due to the loss of Sanders. These last 3 games were supposed to be an early litmus test as to what type of season this would be and I have to admit that I did not think they would be able to muster enough together to win even 2 of these games. The adversity the Eagles faced in the US Virgin Islands has served to bring them together with an "us against the world" mentality. The key now though, will be for the Eagles to not relax as the schedule lightens a little bit with games against Harvard, URI, and Bryant on the horizon next. Anything less than a 3-0 stretch will be completely unacceptable for this team.

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