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Five Quick Takes: Louisville 77 BC 69

Late rally not enough, but what else is there to discuss?

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Louisville
Robinson leads rally that comes up just short vs Cards
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Five quick takes after Boston College cut an 18 point lead with just 2:47 remaining in the game, all the way down to two, before falling at Louisville, 77-69.

The loss drops the Eagles to 13-7 overall and 3-4 in the ACC, with an NCAA tournament critical game coming Wednesday night at Syracuse.

By the way, I wanted to thank everyone for the comments after the Florida State game. Some excellent topics brought up and great, thoughtful exchange rather than just crazy thank you all.

The good and the not so good of Ky Bowman - point guard

I am a Ky Bowman fan.

Those of you who read these posts have no doubt about that, but at times, the things that make him so good and so indispensable to this team, can also come back to haunt and such was the case on Sunday.

When things go wrong for Bowman it usually can be traced to a lack of patience. He plays too quickly, gets careless with the ball, with his shot selection and with his role to get this team into offense.

The results, 5-22 from the floor with 7 turnovers to just 2 assists in what for him was a day off, playing only 35 minutes and fouling out for the first time all season.

Much was made of the Louisville length, but I thought for the most part after the first few minutes of the game, BC and Jerome Robinson in particular adjusted to the Cardinal athleticism. But with multiple players able to cover perimeter players and Bowman just 6’1 compared to Robinson’s 6’6, he found the path to the basket a tough one to negotiate.

Bowman’s fouls found him on the bench for the vast majority of the late game run. Ky came out at the 2:47 mark with the Eagles down 16 and didn’t return until there were 56 seconds left with BC down 6.

Perhaps to some it would be an odd way to approach it, but even though the line up on the floor during that run was unusual, it was working and perhaps despite the obvious spark and leadership he provides, leaving Bowman on the bench for the final seconds may have been a better move.

Bowman is not a prototypical point guard and that’s OK, but there are times he needs to understand game situations and how his game is going on that day and adjust accordingly.

Be really careful how you substitute

For a short period of time in the first half that didn’t come back to bite them, the Eagles had Vin Baker, Johncarlos Reyes and Avery Wilson on the floor at the same time.

As is well documented, BC is razor thin off the bench, so one of the key things that we would never allow is to have three non starters on the floor at the same time.

One non starter would be preferred, two at times, but three was just looking for trouble.

It is the first time all year in a competitive ACC game that I remember that happening and although they got away with it, was a scary proposition.

Vin Baker stepping into the 7th man role

Speaking of substitutes, Vin Baker has clearly become that 7th player in Jim Christian’s rotation. We talked about this a few weeks ago and wondered who that player might be or if Coach Christian would be able to develop that player and it appears Baker is that choice.

The 6’7 FR from Old Saybrook, CT got 12 minutes on Sunday, scoring two points and grabbing five rebounds.

At this point, Baker is just trying to fit in. He is passive offensively, not looking at the basket on the catch, but back where the ball came from. He plays extremely upright offensively and defensively and therefore has some issues being in a position to make plays, but as the game wore on, he looked much more comfortable.

The game needs to slow down a bit for him and he needs to put on 20 pounds of muscle, but as a sub to hold the status quo when you are in the game, is a great place to start and Baker was on the floor for all but the end of the late game run.

Robinson adjusts to Louisville’s length

As mentioned earlier in the article, Ky Bowman had issues dealing with the length and the quickness that Louisville could rotate through on him. Bowman found himself unable to body up or shoot over that size.

Jerome Robinson though was another story.

At the 11:38 mark of the first half, Robinson drove across the lane and had his shot rejected by the Cardinals Anas Mahmoud, but learned a valuable lesson and took it to heart the remainder of the game.

From there on out, Robinson did a few things fundamental to attacking those types of players.

  • If there is a guard/forward switch, slow down, drag the forward out and drive. Don’t settle for jump shots and don’t be in a hurry.
  • If the forward shows but doesn’t switch, attack the hip of the forward defender and either look to draw contact or step off the hip
  • Attack in straight lines. On the Mahmoud block, Robinson went across the lane, rather than at the basket. For the remainder of the game, it was all hard, straight line drives which resulted in 7-11 from the floor inside the three point line.

Can the Eagles win on the road?

While BC has been great overall at Conte, posting an 11-1 mark, the Eagles are now just 1-5 in true road games with the one win at the America East’s University of Hartford, ranked #252 this week in Kenpom.

Six of the eleven remaining ACC games are on the road, including Wednesday night’s seemingly winnable game at Syracuse, along with a trip to cellar dweller Pitt and up and down NC State later in the year.

BC has shot the ball below their season average in all six of those games and with the Eagles, like a boxer, always looking for the knockout punch, need those shots to fall or certainly easier ways to get them.

It’s not as if the Eagles do anything else spectacularly well to lean on when the shooting doesn’t cooperate.

Like a football team who runs the ball, plays defense and is solid in the kicking game, having a basketball team who defends, rebounds, doesn’t turn the ball over and shoots free throws well are the ones built to win away from home.

At this point, the Eagles need to do more across the board, at both ends of the floor to be as efficient on the road as they are at home.