The Eagles gave #23 NC State all the could handle in each teams' ACC opener on Saturday, but a few late errors and some clutch free throw shooting by the Wolfpack sent the Eagles home with the loss, 78-73.
Here are some thoughts after this tough loss for BC:
Free Throw Issues: BC went 24-for-37 from the free throw line on Saturday, and none of those misses were more valuable to the result of the game than when Patrick Heckmann missed one of three from the line with BC down 74-71 in the final minute of play. Heckmann hadn't missed a free throw since the Eagles November 28th contest against Penn State, so it's safe to say that the pressure got to the sophomore forward here.
Foul Trouble Throughout: The Eagles were in foul trouble seemingly from the tip-off, as NC State was in the penalty for the last 8-plus minutes of the first and second halves. You won't win many, if any games when you put your opponent on the free throw line after every foul for half of the game, and this certainly was the case Saturday afternoon in the loss for BC.
Chances Late: Ryan Anderson had a big dunk and was fouled in the process with 27.2 seconds left in the game and after the made free throw the NC State lead was cut to 72-71 and BC had new hope. Despite two clutch free throws at the other end by Wolfpack senior Scott Wood, the Eagles still had the three free throw attempts from Patrick Heckmann that could have tied the game and then a late three-point shot from Joe Rahon that would have sent the game into overtime. While the loss is certainly tough for this team to take early in the ACC schedule, the Eagles can't say they didn't have chances to extend the game and even win it late.
An Effort to Build On: While it's hard to take moral victories, there were a lot of bright aspects of this game that the Eagles can build on as they head further into the ACC portion of their schedule. Joe Rahon had an impressive performance from start to finish, as the freshman had 18 points, shooting 4-for-10 from the field. Rahon also had 11 free throw attempts, which was second most of anyone in the game, showing that his aggressiveness attacking the basket paid off. BC made it clear that they were ready for ACC competition, as they stuck with the favorite to win the league from start to finish and could have easily pulled out the win in the end. Things are looking up for the Eagles, for now at least.
The Eagles next game is this Wednesday at Virginia Tech at 7 PM on NESN. BC will look for an equal effort on the road, but that may be easier said than done for this young bunch.