1/23/2010 - Virginia Tech 63, Boston College 62 - 11-9 (2-4 ACC)
Brian: Just when I was ready to give up on this team, the Eagles roared back from a nine point halftime deficit to nearly clip the Hokies at Cassell Coliseum on Saturday. BC let a 3 point lead slip away with under 30 seconds left to lose to Virginia Tech 63-62. First question. Did Virginia Tech win this game, or did BC lose it?
Jeff: I think you could say BC lost the game only because they failed to get a shot off at the end. Things could've ended very differently as Reggie Jackson had the ball and looked as if he would at least get to the free throw line before getting a jumper off and possibly get all the way to the rim as VT would certainly not risk fouling him. But I don't know what Trapani was thinking at the time when he ran past Jackson close enough for the ball to get dribbled off of his foot and the game to end. Over the years I feel that BC has failed to get shots off in the final seconds many times but this one was particularly disappointing.
Brian: Skinner and the team noted that the final play they had drawn up was based on the 9.2 seconds that were on the clock before the officials correctly knocked the final time down to 5 seconds. Whoever was controlling the clock had stopped the clock early on what would prove to be Virginia Tech's game-winning drive. Not to excuse the final play where Jackson, Trapani, Elmore (screening for Reggie) and Malcolm Delaney got crossed up and the ball bounced out of bounds, but I can see BC's frustration when drawing up a play thinking there was 9 seconds left on the clock, only to have 4 less seconds to work with. Regardless, this game wasn't lost simply on the final play of the game.
Looking back on the game, there seemed to be a bunch of questionable calls. None was bigger than the held ball given to Virginia Tech with 21 seconds left. Biko Paris was tied up on the baseline and was not granted a timeout. Instead, the refs called for a jump ball with the possession arrow to Virginia Tech. Any gripes with the officiating down the stretch?
Jeff: I didn't see the officiating as bad on Saturday. There are questionable calls in every game and when Biko got the jump ball called on him instead of a timeout I blame Paris. As soon as he got the ball he should've tried to call timeout but he didn't. The defenders might have gotten their hands on first when you watch the replay.
Brian: Curiously, Reggie Jackson has been moved out of the starting lineup but has provided a spark for the Eagles off the bench. Jackson has scored in double figures in every ACC game and is emerging as a go-to scorer for BC off the bench. Skinner also got 29 quality minutes from fellow sophomore guard from Colorado Dallas Elmore. Were you more impressed by the play of Jackson or Elmore off the bench on Saturday?
Jeff: Jackson is expected to score 17 a night for us now whether he comes off the bench or not. He still gets starter minutes. Elmore is certainly more surprising as he is now going to be one of the first players to come off the bench and continue to get 20+ minutes if he keeps this play up.
Brian: The Eagles now turn their attention to Clemson as they host the Tigers on Tuesday night. BC was slightly embarrassed last time out against Clemson, losing 72-56 at Littlejohn Coliseum back on January 9. I know you attended the last BC-Clemson game. Do the Eagles have any chance to knock off the Tigers given their listless performance the last time out?
Jeff: I think Clemson is one of those teams that's going to be a lot better at home (even though the second half Saturday night doesn't support that) than they are on the road. Clemson is playing some young players and this will be the first game at Conte Forum with the students there (not in the middle of finals period). We know it won't be packed, but there should be enough Superfans to create a little noise. Kenpom is now predicting a close 3 point game so I like the Eagles' chances. Also, when I was at the game at LittleJohn, I was actually happy with a lot of what I saw from the team. It was probably the most pleased with the team I've ever been after a 16 point loss. Most importantly, we should not be nearly as afraid of Clemson's full court press as we have been in the past.