Don't look now, but the Boston College Eagles are beginning to show signs of improvement.
Granted, it is often difficult to find silver linings in games in which the Eagles lost to one of their weakest opponents thus far in ACC play. Yet there were some marked positives. With :51 left in the game, the Eagles were in a two possession game. Jerome Robinson, after only contributing five points to the Eagles' cause against Notre Dame Saturday afternoon, shot 60% from the field and was able to add 15 points to the Eagles' cause.
"[I'm] proud of our effort tonight," BC coach Jim Christian said. "I thought our guys competed today, probably for 40 minutes as hard as we have played in a while, we just made a lot of careless mistakes at key times."
One category of mistakes in particular were fouls, particularly early. Both Dennis Clifford and Idy Diallo took two fouls each in the span of the first eleven minutes of the first half. With both of his bigs in foul trouble, Jim Christian needed to play a smaller lineup against a big Florida State team.
"[Playing a smaller lineup] was tough," Christian said. "One thing it does, when we have Dennis and Idy in foul trouble, now we have to put Garland [Owens] at the five at 6'4". The thing that makes it hard is that we can't run anything because you got four guys, Daryl [Hicks] is now playing the four, Garland's playing the five, the makeshift lineup makes it hard because they're not getting reps at those spots a lot, and that makes it difficult to run."
Another down spot were turnovers. The Eagles took 17 turnovers on the day, continuing a trend of mistakes stifiling offense.
"The ball-handling mistakes for us, that's been a problem for us," Christian said. "We can't have 17 turnovers and win. We struggled to score at times, so if we're going to have 17 trips without a shot, it's not going to help us."
Another part where the offense was stifled was in the realm of free throw shooting. The Eagles shot 22.2% from the stripe in the game.
"Obviously we can't go 2-for-9 from the line," Christian said. "That's a joke. Especially at home. It'd be a joke on the road. We just gotta get better at that. You gotta give yourself a chance when you're in the game, those were big."
Yet, despite the shortfalls, the Eagles were able to stay competitive with the Seminoles, and were able to keep the game close until the end.
"It's interesting that this team hasn't won a game in the ACC…" Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "They really execute their offense very well, the young kids are improving."
The Eagles play the North Carolina Tarheels next Saturday at 12 P.M. in Chapel Hill, N.C.