Brian: Eagles fans of the late 1990s and early 2000s may remember the name Preston Shumpert. Shumpert was a 6'6" small forward for Syracuse that terrorized the Eagles in his junior and senior seasons. On Saturday, it was another Shumpert that dominated Boston College.
Georgia Tech guard Iman "no relation to Preston" Shumpert went off for 24 points, including 9 straight late in the second half and dominated the Eagles on the defensive side of the ball (six steals, several deflections) to lead the Yellow Jackets to a 73-68 victory over BC. The loss snaps the Eagles two-game winning streak as they fall back down to .500 (14-14) with two regular season games to go. Let’s start with the likes. What did you like from the Eagles performance on Saturday?
Jeff: The Eagles were lead by Joe Trapani and Tyler Roche who went a combined 8-12 from 3 point range. Overall, the Eagles shot 50% from behind the arc which was exactly what they needed to do in this game as they were going up against some shot blockers and were going to have a tough time scoring inside. Unfortunately though, that was not enough because that is the only thing I saw from BC that I liked on Saturday.
Brian: On to the dislikes. First off, you won’t win many games when you turn the ball over 21 times and have 10 shots blocked. Yet despite all these missteps the Eagles only lost by 5 points.
Curiously, for only the second time in his career, Rakim Sanders was held scoreless (this is saying something considering the only other time Sanders was held scoreless, he played only 4 minutes against Saint Joseph's before leaving the game with an ankle injury). Sanders final stat line reads like a "Dave Shinskie at Virginia Tech"-like performance - 19 minutes, 0 points, 0-3 from the field, 0-2 from 3, 3 turnovers, 2 personal fouls.
What’s up with Sanders? Is this Sanders hitting bottom? And do you think he’ll pick his game from up off the mat and finish the 3+ games of this season strong?
Jeff: This is ridiculous. One game we're thinking maybe Sanders turned the corner and has finally found his legs this season after being injured. Now the next game the question is has he hit rock bottom?
No. I don't think he hit rock bottom on Saturday. Watching the game, Sanders was not a factor but not a huge liability either. Would the Eagles have kept it closer if Sanders had a better game? Sure. But was Sanders the reason that the Eagles were down big in the second half? I don't think so.
Sanders has not been there for us in a lot of games this season. Some of those games he still ends up with 4 points, but Saturday he got blanked. I'm sure he'll be fine against the less talented Virginia Cavaliers team we play at home on Wednesday.
Aside from Sanders, this was a very disappointing, mistake-filled game. Coach Skinner thought the guys had figured things out prior to this game and instead we had a ton of turnovers and several shot clock violations. Georgia Tech is clearly not one of the best teams in the league based on how BC was able to stick around and nearly get back in it late despite being completely over-matched for much of the afternoon. It was disappointing that the Eagles didn't look better on Saturday but it is tough to win on the road in the ACC. Or at least it's supposed to be. Up until this weekend, ACC teams were winning at home at near record pace but then Georgia Tech was the only team to hold serve of the six conference games.
Brian: The road certainly hasn't been kind to the Eagles in the ACC this season. The loss to Georgia Tech over the weekend coupled with road wins from Clemson, N.C. State and North Carolina leave the Eagles tied for second to last in ACC road record (1-6) with Georgia Tech. Only the Hurricanes have a worse road record 0-7 that will likely be pushed to 0-8 as they face North Carolina tomorrow.