In what head coach Jim Christian called "a game of two halves," the Boston College men's basketball team recovered from an ugly first half to top Harvard 69-56 at Conte Forum. The win improves BC to 3-0 on the season - the Eagles' first 3-0 start since the 2008-09 season.
Christian opened up his post game press conference bisecting the performance of his Boston College Eagles team against cross-river opponent, the Harvard Crimson, into two halves, the first half a shooting nightmare that saw the Eagles go 24% from the field; a half that saw perennial lightning rods Jerome Robinson and Eli Carter lose just a bit of electricity by going a collective 0-9 from the field; a half that saw two big men in Dennis Clifford and Idy Diallo each get into foul trouble early by entering the locker room at halftime with three fouls.
The second half, on the other hand, saw the Eagles go 50% from the field, 7-14 from behind the three point line, 81.5% from the free throw line, and, perhaps most importantly, saw the Eagles put up 53 points.
Of course, much of this success can be placed on the shoulders of freshman Matt Milon.
Milon posted 16 points, with four three-pointers. With this offensive contribution, the Eagles were able to shake off a brutal first half to defeat the Crimson for the second year in a row.
"The most important thing for us was that this was a character win today," Christian said. "There's a lot of games that you're going to play where you're not going to play great, I don't care who you are, you don't play great every night, you just got to find a way to win. For our team, it was great to show the character that we showed today, the grit that we showed today, we made plays when we needed to make them, to beat a really good basketball team."
In fairness to the Eagles, the struggles from the field in the first half weren't quite as pronounced for the Crimson, but they were there nonetheless. The Crimson shot 36.4% from the field, at times creating long scoring droughts during the half.
Even amongst the struggles, bench players like Milon and Ervins Meznieks foreshadowed a degree of brilliance. Milon, in the first half, led the Eagles in scoring with five points. Even with Milon's contributions, the big picture still looked fairly grim. What exacerbated the situation was Clifford taking a foul with 2:23 to go in the first half. His third, the Eagles went into the locker room with two big men in significant foul trouble.
The second half, however, brought out a whole new team.
Much like the game against Central Connecticut State, Carter began to heat up, scoring eight points before three minutes had ticked off the clock. Alongside a burgeoning onslaught from Milon, the Eagles offense began to turn a new corner.
Yet as the game approached the halfway point, foul trouble reared its head again. Diallo, who had taken three fouls in the first, fouled out before the halfway point of the game, the second time the redshirt-freshman has fouled out before elapsing ten minutes of game time.
"[Diallo can start contributing by] stop fouling," Christian said. "We have to watch every foul he's committed, and he has to understand. He gets too worked up in the game, he's trying to over-compensate. He might be caught out of position for a second and instead of just adjusting and not fouling he panics and shoves him."
The foul trouble with Diallo and Clifford led to Johncarlos Reyes getting significant playing time. The fouling bug, however, afflicted Reyes, who amassed three fouls in his time on the floor.
The Eagles, following the halfway point, garnered momentum and would not relinquish the lead, defeating the Crimson for the second year in a row.
The Eagles take on Michigan State on Nov. 26 at 6:30 PM in the Wooden Legacy tournament.