Brian: There are some good and some not so good things one could take away from Boston College’s 92-85 loss to Wake Forest. Let’s start with the good.
For one, this team was able to claw their way back into the game late in the secondj half, after being down as many as 19 midway through the second half. Wake Forest didn’t hit a field goal in the last 10 minutes of the game, but were still able to put away the Eagles on the free throw line, going 17 of 22 from the line down the stretch.
Oh yeah, and Tyler Roche dropped a career-high 31 points on the Deacons, including 6-of-8 shooting from behind the arc. We should properly give Roche his due, no? Without Roche’s effort, this team would have been blown off the Lawrence Joel Coliseum floor.
Jeff: How do you write a lead-in to an analysis of the Wake Forest game without mentioning that the Eagles played without Joe Trapani, one of, if not our best player? But regardless, Roche was a monster last night. Thirty eight minutes for someone who typically does not start and averages less than 20 minutes per game is amazing, let alone scoring 31 points.
Brian: Roche fueled the offense last night with an incredible performance. The Eagles’ scored 85 points on Wake Forest which is good for their third best offensive output of the season. Clearly offense wasn't the problem for the Eagles; defense was.
"When a team shoots 70 percent, you’re not offering much defensively," said Skinner, who pointed to his team’s dull defensive edge in the first half as the difference.
This is certainly nothing new - as it’s plagued the Eagles all season - but their defensive performance was atrocious last night. Arguably it was the worst defensive performance of the season for BC. We knew that players like Al-Farouq Aminu (22 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks), Chas McFarland (14 points) and David Weaver (5 points) would present matchup problems for the Eagles, but I don’t think anyone thought it would get this bad. Wake had 50 points at half and was on pace for much of the second half for 100.
Evan Ravenel guarding Aminu was a total mismatch. This was never more evident than when Ravenel picked up two quick fouls while guarding Aminu in the first half. What do you think was the cause of BC’s latest defensive meltdown? Trapani being out? Mismatch problems with the Deacons? Something else?
Jeff: I think you are underestimating the importance of Trapani being out. He is not our best defensive player but he is a big man and often plays bigger than he is. Most ACC teams are just too big for us to be missing one of our key big men. Meaning Trapani cannot miss any ACC games and BC win since he is our only key big man. Sanders is more of a guard, Raji is just too small as big as he plays and Southern is not a key player.
The game also took a tone of no defense being played on either end at times. BC could've easily put more points on the board than they did too. When teams start running up and down the court the kids are not going to give their best defensive effort on each possession.
Brian: Adding to the list of problems - free throw shooting. The Eagles shot 60.9 percent from the charity stripe, missing 9 free-throws (14-23 shooting). BC is shooting a miserable 70.9 percent from the line on the year. You aren’t going to win many close games without knocking down free points.
Also, I still can’t figure out what is up with Rakim Sanders. Sanders scored 10 points in 25 minutes but shot only 33 percent from the field (4-12) and 20 percent from 3 (1-5). Why Rakim is throwing up 5 three-pointers I have no idea. He has been cold from the field for quite some time, and if ever there was a game where we needed Rakim to make his presence felt down low, this was it. Do you think Sanders will turn a corner, or is it too late for this season?
Jeff: Sanders just needs to stop attempting the 3's. He shot 3-7 from inside the arc which isn't terrible. He has looked a lot better in the last 3 games than he did previously. There is still hope for him this season, but I wouldn't expect him to score in the twenties as BCRaj predicted yesterday.
Brian: Finally, the Eagles win the race back down to .500. At 12-12, BC is the first ACC program to fall to .500 overall. Is this rock bottom for the Eagles, or are there more losses than wins remaining on this year’s Eagles' schedule?
Jeff: How can you not be encouraged by last night's game? BC traveled to Wake Forest and kept it close without Joe Trapani. Down the stretch maybe Sanders and/or Roche will start giving us a lot more production and BC can string together a few wins. I would love to see Skinner try a new lineup where Raji and Jackson come off the bench in the next few games. However, even if Al does not make any adjustments, BC's schedule is lightening up significantly and BC should be able to finish the season .500 or above. No one expected BC to win last night. I certainly thought BC had a decent chance to win but didn't expect them to pull out the W.
I think I mentioned it already but don't forget that Trapani didn't play. Also, Sanders fouled out with almost 4 minutes left, and Jackson turned it over on a five second count with 3:25 left. Despite a lot of mistakes, things could've gone differently last night.
What effort will the team bring the rest of the season? I think if they were going to give up they would have already. But I think I'm in the minority on that thinking.