Final Score: Boston College 82, Columbia 73
Boston College played a good offensive game tonight and was able to escape a pesky Columbia team that took a lead in the second half. A balanced scoring attack, led by Wynston Tabbs, Ky Bowman, and Nik Popovic, made up for the Eagles’ awful pick-and-roll defense that gave up more than a few lay-ups on slips to the rim. Freshmen Jairus Hamilton and Chris Herren also gave good minutes in a game where Jordan Chatman was sidelined with an injury.
Going forward, the Eagles need to defend better, particularly the backside help against the pick and roll. Nik Popovic did a great job hedging and pressuring the ball handlers, but there was no backside help against Columbia’s bigs, which allowed them to get easy layups on the slip. Sometimes, however, BC gave too much help, which led to easy three point opportunities for Columbia and the three ball is always the great equalizer in college basketball.
One obvious takeaway from this game is that Jim Christian has an extremely deep roster. In ACC play, he will depend on leadership from guys like Jordan Chatman, Steffon Mitchell, Nik Popovic, and Ky Bowman, but young guys like Herren, Tabbs, and Hamilton will all be capable defensively, handling the ball, and hitting timely shots. As Christian continues to recruit ACC caliber players, he will have more options to play around with on his bench and be able to go small, go big, and anywhere in between.
Lastly, BC is going to be a player in the middle of the ACC this year. With two closers in Wynston Tabbs and Ky Bowman, they will be tough to defend when games come down to the wire, and role players like Mitchell and Hamilton will hit some shots, defend, and rebound, Chatman and Herren will hit shots, and Popovic will defend, rebound, and sometimes finish in the paint.
BC missed an opportunity against Providence and had no business losing to IUPUI, but the past is the past. Gotta look forward and keep taking care of business and tonight was a good step in the right direction. They might not have had their best, but they did enough to win, and that’s what good teams do.