Brian: Jeff has the week off so we bring in BCRaj to discuss BC's season-ending loss to Northwestern ...
The Northwestern Wildcats took a page out of the Steve Donahue offensive playbook, out-threeing the Eagles to cruise to an 85-67 victory over Boston College. The Wildcats connected on 15 three pointers, which tied a Conte Forum record, and all five 'Cats starters scored in double figures. Coach Donahue and BC had no answer for Northwestern's Princeton offense, giving up plenty of open looks from three and wide-open layups / dunks off back cuts.
NU's John Shurna must have broken the Conte Forum white guy dunks record, as he was left repeatedly open on back cuts for the easy layup / dunk. He finished one board shy of a double-double (20 points, 9 boards), while Michael "Juice" Thompson added 22.
It wasn't as if the Eagles went cold from the field. Quite the opposite. BC finished the day going 24-46 from the field (52.2%), 5-15 from three (33.3%) and 14-19 from the line (73.7%). Rather, BC got killed on the boards (27-18 total rebounds in favor of NU, 9-2 offensive rebounds), and Northwestern finished shooting 16 more field goal attempts and 21 more three-point attempts.
Joe Trapani was the leading scorer for the Eagles, finishing with 18 points and 7 boards on 7-11 shooting.
However, Raji, Trap and Reggie Jackson went a combined 0-7 from three, and Jackson, an 18.5 PPG player, finished with just 8 points (2-8 FG). It was Jackson's third lowest point total of the season (7 points in the 84-68 loss to Duke and 6 points in the 106-74 loss to North Carolina).
What was the most disappointing aspect of BC's 85-67 beatdown at the hands of N'western? Giving up 15 threes? Looking incompetent on defense against the Princeton offense? Not getting Jackson going? The Eagles' three-point shooting? Lack of energy and/or effort? Something else? Your thoughts?
Raj: ENERGY. Plain and simple. And not to ignore the other reasons for losing, but this is one Donahue and the team can control. Usually high energy results in at least a competent defense. We came out flat, didn't respond and put together an all-around horrible defensive performance. After Reggie's "we got something to prove" post-game interview, I expected the team to come out with intensity and battle. Unfortunately for those who tuned in for the second half, you saw a deflated team who got picked apart. I can't fault the team for all of the threes they gave up -- some of them were NBA range and not just from one or two hot players -- but from everyone. But when you get out-rebounded and out hustled by a less athletic and in my opinion inferior team, you just question the heart and effort that some of the players' gave. Maybe playing at Conte Forum is the complete opposite of a homecourt advantage?
Brian: The game was the final collegiate game for eight BC seniors -- Joe Trapani, Biko Paris, Josh Southern, Corey Raji, Cortney Dunn, Chris Kowalski, John Cahill and Nick Mosakowski. These seniors accounted for 60.5 percent of total minutes played this year (3996-6600) as well as 62.4 percent of total points (1481-2373). Who will BC miss the most next season?
Raj: This may surprise you but, Joe Trapani. In my opinion, Trapani struggled to find his shot or his role in the Donahue offense, but still contributed on both ends of the court. He was a guy who battled, and while I didn't value Joe as much as others, he was one player who never gave up and continued to battle. You need one of those guys on every team, and none of the underclassmen seem to have the combination of heart and ability that he has. It will be hard for any freshman to step in immediately and have the impact of a Joe Trapani. All the seniors will be missed in one way or another, and while the loss to Northwestern is fresh in their minds, they can look back on their time at the Heights as successful. Honorable mention to John Cahill -- the basketball's Sid Vicious -- and every intramural player's dream.