Boston College was patient in the first half. Or lethargic, depending on how you choose to look at it. "I told the guys to be aggressive," Donahue said was his message to the team at halftime.
In the second half, with about 12 minutes to play when down 46-43, the Eagles took over and went on a 12-0 run that was largely due to the play of Olivier Hanlan. The Eagles star freshman point guard managed to score nine points in only 1:57 of game time. He hit one three in that stretch which certainly helped, but the rest of the points came on three drives to the basket where Hanlan scored twice and got to the line a third time.
During that stretch and the rest of the game, Hanlan was clearly the man that wanted the ball and his teammates obliged him. Hanlan only had six points in the game with 12 minutes left to play but ended up finishing with 24, leading all scorers, and leading Boston College to a 68-61 victory over Clemson.
BC took what they were given in this game. At one point they were just 2-for-10 from range. But they finished with 30 points in the paint and 19 points from the charity stripe. When was the last time a Donahue coached BC team only scored 28 percent of their points through jumpers?
The aggressiveness also showed in the the stat line looking at their field goal percentage. In the second half BC shot 60 percent from the field on only 20 shots. BC scored 41 points in the second half on only 20 shots. Aggressiveness certainly pays off sometimes.
The Eagles adjusments were shown through several stats, but resulted from how Clemson played BC. The Tigers elected to not double down on Ryan Anderson every time he touched the ball inside. Have opposing ACC coaches become more and more afraid of BC's other options, now having seen that Hanlan and Rahon are capable of stepping up and leading the team to victory as well? Ryan Anderson was BC's second leading scorer in the game with 18, finishing in the paint seven times and adding four more at the line.
The victory marked the second straight ACC win for the Eagles, the last two with the same starting lineup. When asked about that after the game, Donahue gave lots of credit to Eddie Odio. The sophomore forward, who was not even in the mix really at the start of ACC play, has now started two in a row, including playing all 40 minutes against Virginia Sunday.
When asked about Hanlan's progression in the second half of the season, he pointed out that he came from a very different system and the more time Lonnie and Joe and he play together, the more comfortable they are feeding the right person at the right time, which was clearly Olivier during a key stretch of the second half tonight.
Brad Brownell after the game was not exactly complimentary of Boston College's performance. "I felt like we got whistled for a few fouls that probably got our guys a bit tentative and I thought some of their free-throws gave them some confidence. All of that combined with some missed layups and missed three point shots that you got to make when teams are packing it in, it makes for a long night."
The Eagles now has Georgia Tech at home before its off to the ACC Tournament down in Greensboro. The Eagles have two options to make the post season. First, they can win the Tournament and make the Big Dance. Or, with a win over Georgia Tech and then a trip to the semifinals in Greensboro, BC guarantees themselves a .500 finish or better and a trip to some sort of other postseason tournament.
Coach Donahue did say, "We're playing our best basketball right now, which is nice."