The Boston College Eagles were relatively impressive in their first loss of the Charleston Classic tournament against the nationally-ranked Baylor Bears. They were far less impressive in their blowout loss to the Dayton Flyers. Sunday afternoon, they get a chance to avoid the oh-fer in the tournament.
Who? Boston College Eagles (1-2) vs. Charleston Cougars (1-2)
When? 12:00 PM Eastern
Where? TD Bank Arena -- Charleston, South Carolina
Where on my eyeballs? ESPN3
Stuff that could happen:
Charleston lost to the Auburn Tigers on Friday to help BC avoid the weird double-Auburn schedule. If Charleston had beaten Auburn on Friday, the Eagles would be playing Auburn today as well as in Conte Forum on Wednesday. It would have been weird.
If you have watched the first three games of the BC basketball season, you'll know two things: 1) Ryan Anderson is really kind of freaking awesome and 2) this defense needs a LOT of work. The Cougars have scored just 51 and 53 points in their last two games, but the Eagles have allowed over 80 in each of their last two games. Something has gotta give. Hopefully, the Eagles figure out how to play some defense and stop a relatively poor Charleston offense from going bananas.
Each of the past two games, the Eagles have competed for 90% of the game. Once they reach the 35 minute mark, however, they seem to get exhausted and just fall apart. I'm not sure if it's mental fatigue or physical fatigue, but it just gets sloppy. They start committing bad turnovers and fail to execute on either side of the ball. With the day of rest in between Friday's game and today's game, perhaps the Eagles can put together a full 40 minutes of basketball. Similarly, BC probably didn't have much of a chance to correct any of their defensive woes in between the game against Baylor and the game against Dayton. This time, they had a day off and hopefully spent some of that time in the film room looking at what went wrong.
After the loss to Dayton, we talked about how impressive Joe Rahon played. Hopefully we see more of the same today against the Cougars. He was aggressive and quick. Perhaps most importantly, he seemed to make very deliberate decisions. On a team this young, it would be incredibly helpful to have guards who are capable of taking charge and playing with confidence. Similarly, the Eagles need Ryan Anderson to demand the basketball. An offensive possession that goes by without the ball touching Anderson's hands is likely a wasted possession. Even if he isn't trying to score every time, at least get him the ball and force the defense to make a decision. If Anderson is able to set the tone early, Charleston will have no choice but to pay even more attention to the sophomore forward, which then opens opportunities for the other players.
In Charleston's loss to Auburn, they shot a higher percentage than the Tigers, grabbed more rebounds, and shot more free throws. How did they lose, you ask? Well the Cougars were incredibly sloppy with the ball, committing 18 turnovers versus just 5 assists. Turnovers have been a big problem for the Cougars thus far and the Eagles will likely be able to take advantage if they are able to take care of the ball themselves.
Watching the Dayton game, it seemed as though the Eagles were playing a road game instead of a neutral site game. Today, they really will be playing a road game. As the hosts of the tournament, Charleston is obviously playing on their home court. Will that make any difference for Steve Donahue and the boys? We'll see.
Picture this for a minute:
The Eagles are leading 64-61 in the waning moments of the 2nd half. Charleston draws up a play and drains a three-pointer with 10 seconds left on the clock. The game is tied at 64. Steve Donahue calls a timeout to draw up a play. He knows that the Cougars are going to be pressuring the ball and trying to prevent the Eagles from getting a clear shot to win the game. There's a chance that the Cougars could force a turnover, but it's not all that likely. Olivier Hanlan stands at the baseline and passes the ball into Joe Rahon. Rahon dribbles up the court, trying to avoid the halfcourt trap from the opponent. He passes the ball to Anderson who is standing a few feet behind the three point line. There's 4 seconds left on the clock. Anderson receives the ball, he's got a semi-open look to win the game on the deep three-pointer. But something happens.
Instead of shooting the deep three to try to avoid overtime, Ryan Anderson stops and considers the worst possible situations:
What if I take this shot and it gets blocked? I'd look stupid :( What if I shoot it and it bounces off the back of the rim and the other team gets it and then shoots a full-court shot and wins the game?? I'd be sad. What if as I shoot the ball, a real live eagle swoops down from the rafters and carries the ball into our own basket and we lose????? That would bad =(.
Anderson decides that although these scenarios are incredibly unlikely to happen, it just isn't worth trying to win the game in regulation. He takes the ball and punts it high into the air and allows the time on the clock to expire. Steve Donahue and the rest of the BC players are furious. They can't believe that he would just throw away a chance to win the game.
Donahue rushes out onto the court and grabs Anderson to get in his face and yell at him. Right as he's about to shove his finger in his face and go ballistic for such a boneheaded move, Donahue stumbles backwards in horror. The normally baby-faced Anderson is different. He doesn't look the same. A huge, furry mustache has appeared above his lip. Anderson is now somehow wearing a stupid maroon visor. Donahue runs out of the arena, screaming in disgust.
The ghost of Frank Spaziani lives on.
BC Interruption's prediction:
I predict this: Steve Donahue will try to win the game. Because he isn't spineless. Because he cares about his players. Because that's WHY YOU COMPETE IN ATHLETICS --- TO WIN THE FREAKING GAME.
Eagles win, 71-63.