After 2 blowout losses and one tough loss to a very solid St. Louis team, Boston College needed to bounce back. It's not good for the confidence of these young players if they keep losing multiple games in a row. Fortunately, they came out Friday night and were ready for battle against UC-Riverside in the consolation bracket of the 76 Classic. It was a dogfight pretty much the entire game. Both teams traded leads throughout the game and this one was ultimately settled in overtime.
The Eagles led by six late in the second half only to have UC-Riverside tie it up with two long three-pointers and send it into an extra period. The Eagles never trailed in overtime and closed out a tight win, 66-62. Once again, Patrick Heckmann powered the Eagles with 32 points and 5 rebounds. By now you know that I love Heckmann as a prospect and expect him to develop into a great player but Friday night, he showed that he can already be great. Albeit against a pretty bad team, Heckmann was outrageously efficient scoring the ball. Once again he made some stupid freshman mistakes and turned the ball over a little too much (although some of his turnovers are great passes that his teammates just aren't ready for), however, he shot 9 of 13 from the field including 4 of 5 from downtown. He added a perfect 10 for 10 at the charity stripe to reach his career high of 32 points. Think about how efficient that is for a minute. 32 points on 13 shots. This kid is an awesomely talented scorer and thankfully he managed to carry the rest of his teammates on offense. The second leading scorer for the Eagles was Matt Humphrey with 11 points. In contrast with Heckmann's efficiency, Humphrey shot only 2 for 10 from the field, but was also perfect from the free throw line.
The things that troubled the Eagles were the same things that troubled them in every game this season. They missed a good amount of wide open shots and were either too trigger happy or too shy several times throughout the game. Turnovers were again a problem, although cutting down to 13 is a big improvement from past performances. They also did a better job forcing turnovers (UC-Riverside had 15 themselves). They got out rebounded again, but by a much smaller margin than usual (31-27). We also know that Steve Donahue's teams like to shoot lots of 3-pointers but right now, the percentage isn't what it needs to be. You can't shoot 22 threes and only hit 6 of them (27.3%). The shooting will get better though and that percentage should go up.
Overall, it was a solid game. Most importantly, in my opinion, is getting the freshmen some real game time experience. This game went down to the wire and provided plenty of teachable moments for Coach D. If they experience lots of nail biters as freshmen, it will seem like second nature by the time they are seniors. It wasn't a perfect performance by any means, but with this team you can't really be picky about the wins. A win is a win and there were many positive things on display by Donahue and Co.