The streak is dead! Long live the streak!
1. Stout defense and transition buckets. Boston College did a great job of creating turnovers, corralling rebounds and then breaking out the other way for some quick transition buckets. The team was playing at a pretty high energy level early and it showed in transition. Aaron Brown led the way early, slashing to the hoop and netting 10 points in the first half. Brown disappeared a bit in the second half, but his only bucket of the second half was huge—the shot that tied the game and sent it to OT.
2. Clifford's double double. It wasn't always pretty, but the Eagles' big man made the most of things in the paint. The junior finished the game with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, and added 10 rebounds (4 of those on the offensive glass) for his first double-double of the season. Clifford did struggle from the free throw line, however, connecting on just 3-of-7.
3. Olivier Hanlan making the shots count down the stretch. It wasn't his best game, but Hanlan really took the game over in the overtime session. Everyone will remember the Heckmann three to put the game out of reach...or the Heckmann slam and celebration to seal the victory, but Hanlan's one-handed flips on back-to-back offensive possessions really set the tone for BC in the extra frame. Love to see the best player on the court take over down the stretch. The question is why didn't we see more of that during regulation?
1. Woes continue against the zone. Boston College had a golden opportunity to rip this game wide open in the first half. Like, a Virginia over Harvard first half wide open. But Amaker switched it up on defense, going from man to a 3-2 zone, and BC's offense just withered. The Eagles started to get away with what was working really, really well early on—transition buckets and working the ball down low in the paint—and settled for long three-pointers and other questionable shot selections. The shots weren't falling, and even worse, no one crashed the boards. There were opportunities for offensive rebounds had BC been aggressive, but most of the time a guy would chuck up a shot and all five BC players would just stand and admire the shot. Even with the prolonged scoring drought to end the first half, the Eagles found themselves up 11 at the half.
At this point, I'm not sure why teams play man defense against BC at all. The offense looks completely lost when the opponent moves away from a man-to-man defense.
2. Failing to cover Harvard's version of Lonnie Jackson. Like, seriously. Cover that dude already. On one play Hanlan got caught looking at the ballhandler and Corbin Miller hit a wide open three-pointer to cut the Eagles' lead. Miller finished with 14 points on 5-of-13 shooting (and 4-of-11 three-point shooting). A couple of the makes were from way downtown and kid has a really quick release, but Miller's sharpshooting helped the Crimson back in this one. He was the ONLY Crimson player to make a three-point shot -- the rest of the team went 0-for-8. Would have liked to see the defense tighten up and not give Miller so many wide open looks from deep.
3. Missed opportunities getting to the free throw line. How does BC play two 20-minute halves of basketball against Harvard and not even get the Crimson into the bonus? For the fourth consecutive game, BC generated little in the way of trips to the charity stripe. And the few times they did get to the line, they missed those freebies. The Eagles finished just 6-of-15 from the FT line, including missing the front of end of more than one 1-and-1. Hit just one more of those free throws and the game is won in regulation. Get Harvard to commit just one more foul in the second half and BC is going to the free throw line with a 1-and-1 and a chance to win it in regulation.
The second half collapse was ugly and there's a lot to work on. But we'll all gladly take the win and run, even if this year's Harvard team isn't nearly as good as some of the more recent Crimson squads. Now let's never lose to Harvard in hoops ever, ever again.