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Men’s Basketball Final: Boston College 74 Central Connecticut State 55

Despite some cold stretches the Eagles blaze their way to an easy win

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s contest against the 0-9 Central Connecticut State Blue Devils was all about keeping the Eagles’ current winning streak going.

BC started off cold, a problem they had against Albany, as it took the team over three minutes to get their first basket and at one point they were even losing by a point. Then around the 15:30 mark, with the score 7 to 7 there was a media timeout and after once play resumed BC was on fire. Between the 15:30 mark and the next media timeout at 10:42, the Eagles would outscore the Blue Devils 20 to 11. It was this stretch that gave BC the breathing room they’d enjoy for much of the rest of the game. From that point on the Eagles’s would never trail and never lead by less than double digits. At one point the Eagles led by so much as 28 points at the 14:02 mark in the second half.

However, throughout the game the Eagles would have to endure multiple cold stretches. The two teams statistically were remarkably even, despite the scoreline, with both teams shooting around 40% from the field (BC finished with 40.3% shooting, CCSU 68.2%) and less than 25% from three (again BC 22.2% and CCSU 26.7%). During these cold stretches BC protected their lead in other ways. BC dominated second chance points 11 to 2, points in the paint 38 to 22, assists with 15 to the Blue Devil’s 7, and forced 24 turnovers. These were things the Eagles seemed to have trouble doing during their four game losing streak. As Head Coach Jim Christian remarked in his post-game press conference, “Defensively we played really consistently,” he further added that, “when we’re good, we force turnovers, when we’re good we share the ball, guys were making the extra play.” Jared Hamilton and Steffon Mitchell were the big impact players for the Eagles today. Hamilton led the team in scoring with 18 points and Mitchell ended up with a double-double, scoring 13 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Jay Heath and Derryck Thornton also finished with double digit point totals, and they along with Mitchell, tallied a team leading 3 assists. Jairus Hamilton also had good game to go along with his brother’s, scoring 9 points and grabbing 7 rebounds.

Despite being against a far weaker opponent it was good to see BC do the little things well. Team’s will have bad shooting days. It happens to teams all the time and all over the country. What is important to take away from this game is that even when the Eagles were not shooting well, they did the other things you need to do to stay in games.

When asked about the team’s three game win streak Coach Christian credited that the team got back to, “Being who we’re supposed to be, we went away from who we were defensively, all the stuff we’ve been preaching since the summer.” He further added, “we have now re-identified, they understand when we’re good that there are certain things we do.”

What is important going forward is that the Eagles are able maintain this identity against much better opponents. The Eagles do not have the luxury have playing many more opponents like Albany and CCSU. BC’s is on the road the next two games against California and then Duke before returning home to face the defending national champions, Virginia. The hope is that these last three games have raised the team’s confidence enough for them to go into these tougher contests and compete at a high level.