Jeff: Boston College lost this afternoon in their first game of the Charleston Classic but it was the epitome of a moral victory for the young team. BC played hard and carried a 2 point lead into halftime after Ryan Anderson erased a costly turnover late in the half while BC was holding for the last shot by hitting a half court shot as time expired. Ryan Anderson was clearly BC's best player and probably the best player on the court all game but Pierre Jackson for Baylor ended up being the game's top scorer. Jackson finished 6-10 from three including twice hitting threes in consecutive Baylor possessions - once in each half. Without Jackson's sharp shooting today, it would have been BC's game to lose.
For 35 minutes, BC looked like they were probably the better team on the court, but just didn't get enough calls and did not shoot as well as the Baylor Bears. For the final five minutes though, BC looked tired and not deep enough to close out the game. The Eagle's bench combined for 23 points on 9-12 shooting, 7 rebs, 3 assts, and 2 steals in just 43 minutes. The only real negative coming off the bench were Heckmann's four turnovers. It seemed Donahue went to the bench often but never left the starters out for long and paid the price in the end. Watching on TV, did you feel that some starters should have been saved for the stretch run? Do you think the nine players that saw action today will be the rotation we'll see? Do you think today's rotation or lack thereof might cost us against Dayton tomorrow?
Conrad: I guess I should answer your questions before launching into any of my reaction/analysis of today's game. I'm not going to sit here and question Donahue's decision to manage the minutes in the second game of the season. At this point in the year, he'll get the benefit of the doubt from me that he did what he thought was necessary to compete in the game. 34 minutes for both Ryan Anderson and the two freshmen guards (Joe Rahon and Olivier Hanlan) seems about right. It's hard to take them out at any point in the game in order to save them for the "home stretch" because if you take them out, the home stretch probably never happens. Pierre Jackson and Isaiah Austin both played roughly the same amount of time. I figure those nine players are probably what Donahue will go with for now. You could probably cut Danny Rubin's 5 minutes and give them to somebody else if you wanted. These kids are young and presumably in good shape, they'll probably be fine tomorrow against Dayton. Dayton played today as well and a lot of guys logged heavy minutes, so we're working with a level playing field.
As far as my reaction to the game is concerned, I was mightily impressed. I wasn't sure that we'd be able to compete for that long and was pleasantly surprised that we even had a chance to win this game. Ryan Anderson is an absolute monster and has improved in enormous ways. His post moves are quick and deliberate. His jumper looks solid. And he's a scary weapon on pick and rolls. He can receive the pick and pop and shoot the midrange J or he can drive to the rim and dunk on people like he did today. I'm legitimately excited about watching him play in person. The kid can ball.
Speaking of kids who can ball -- Pierre Jackson. Hoo boy, this kid is fast. As I said before the game, Jackson was voted the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year and the reasons why were on full display today. He's simply too fast, too crafty, and too explosive for anybody on BC to consistently check. The pick and roll defense was off all day with the bigs supposedly hedging the screens, but they weren't doing it hard enough. The result was the BC guards going under the screen and leaving Jackson wide open for three pointers all afternoon. As Jeff mentioned, Jackson ended up hitting 6 threes and scoring 31 points. We didn't see total dominance from Isaiah Austin, but there were glimpses of how good he could be. How many 7 footers are draining threes? If he plays more in the paint and continues to be a defensive presence (he wasn't great defensively today), he's going to be a top-5 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Overall, I was pleased with the performance and thought the progress from last season was apparent. This is not the worst team in the ACC and should be roughly 100x more watchable that last year. I'd like to see them play a full 40 minutes instead of running out of steam with four minutes to go. Nevertheless, it was a good effort and I'd definitely like to see the Eagles come away with the win tomorrow when they play the Dayton Flyers at 2:30 Eastern.