Right out of the gate it was ugly for BC. The Wolfpack went on an early run that resulted in a 12-2 lead by the first commercial break, largely due to NC State’s ability to force turnovers and draw fouls. Coach Christian tried to call an early timeout but to no avail, as the Wolfpack continued to pile it on. That 12-ish point lead never really grew much larger or smaller throughout the remainder of the half, as BC struggled to score consistently and survived mostly on the spotty shooting of Heath, Kelly, and Ashton-Langford. Meanwhile the Wolfpack excelled in collecting turnovers and drawing fouls inside so that BC could never really claw their way back. BC’s offense overall did an alright job of creating ball movement and open shots, it’s just that too many of those shots didn’t fall. Definitely not enough shots fell to make up for the turnovers and points-off-turnover deficit, with which NC State really took their lead.
To start the second half, the Eagles came out with a somewhat surprising gameplan of hitting the glass and manufacturing points through tough lay-ups and drawing fouls, something that this team has been allergic to in previous games, especially against larger opponents. The Wolfpack’s lead was cut shorter as a result, with some impressive inside play from Steffon Mitchell along with some nice-looking three-pointers from Jay Heath. The Eagles also cut down on their turnovers so that NCSU’s ability to keep their commanding lead like they had in the first half was much more limited. BC was able to eventually take the lead behind some more three-point shooting from Wynston Tabbs. The game, which was looking like a blowout at first, became a battle down the stretch.
In the final minutes, fouls while driving to the basket became the focus of the game. Lots of blocking and charging fouls, most of which went against Boston College, determined much of the close game’s swing. BC found itself relying on some wild three-point attempts from Steffon Mitchell, Wynston Tabbs, and Jay Heath to tread water while they were fighting those foul calls. But a few clutch loose ball plays made by the Wolfpack proved to be too much for the Eagles, and they fell short in the final seconds largely due to their messy game management and an inability to foul on the final possession.
Overall, it’s tough to say that we learned anything about this team. It was more of the same inconsistent game-planning and an over-reliance on the hot hand to keep the team in contention for a win. The Eagles managed to work the glass well for a short period, Tabbs and others shot nicely from 3 in spurts, the team cut back on the unnecessary turnovers in the second half, but the overall inconsistency eventually did them in. Sound familiar? It should, because the game script seems to have hardly changed despite the 2-6 record that the Eagles now boast.
BC hosts Louisville on Saturday, January 2nd at noon.