After ekeing out two victories over middling opponents, the Boston College men's basketball team was seemingly struggling to build any kind of momentum heading into the new year and the start of conference play. They finally found some positives to build on, earning a solid 71-68 win over BC's Dominican rivals on the hardwood at Conte Forum this afternoon.
With Andrew Van Nest (concussion) out and Dennis Clifford (ankle) limited, Donahue turned to his all freshman backcourt to carry the workload today. Both the "O" and Joe came up big, playing every minute of this one. Olivier Hanlan finished with his first career double-double (17 points, 12 boards) and added a spark to the Eagles offense. Joe Rahon took care of business on the other end of the floor, playing solid D and matching PC's Kris Dunn with a game-high six assists -- none bigger than two dishes to Ryan Anderson late to seal the victory.
Speaking of Anderson, he had yet another dominating performance that we've come to expect from the unanimous All-ACC freshman. The sophomore forward finished with 24 points on 7-15 shooting, his second straight 20+ point performance and fifth of the year. Anderson added 10 points from the charity stripe on 10-13 shooting as well as pulling down seven boards.
The Eagles hit seven more three pointers in regulation than they did in the OT win over New Hampshire, finishing 7-18 (38.9 percent) from range and 22-54 (40.7 percent) overall. But it was the Eagles ability to limit mistakes that helped preserve the victory. BC finished with a season low eight turnovers and did a great job of protecting the basketball all game. Hanlan and Rahon were a big part of that.
There were 12 ties and 14 lead changes in this one, with the largest lead of the day just six points. PC guard Bryce Cotton led all scorers with 33 points on 10-22 shooting, including 7-14 from three.
Overall just a solid victory in the Eagles' 107th meeting between these two rival programs. More importantly, the win marks the Eagles' first three game winning streak in a year and a day. Hopefully Clifford and Van Nest can get healthy and this team can build on the momentum of their first winning streak of the season.
Above .500 for the first time since the season opening victory over FIU, Boston College (6-5) is back in action after the holiday, hosting Holy Cross on December 29 and Dartmouth on December 31 before opening up ACC play on January 5 vs. N.C. State. Both the games against Holy Cross and Dartmouth are must wins if BC hopes to build on the last three victories and make any sort of noise in the ACC this year.
The Cross (7-5) nearly knocked off Harvard this afternoon, falling 72-65, while Dartmouth (2-8) just lost by 13 to Bryant. Draw your own conclusions via the always correct transitive property at your own risk.