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Boston College 79, Providence College 67: Thoughts and Observations

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A look back a wild one at Conte

NCAA Basketball: Providence at Boston College Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Wow

Just wow.

First Well-Rounded Offensive Attack Keys Win

For the first time all season, the offense was well-rounded and didn’t completely center around Jerome Robinson. Robinson did have his usual 20+, but Jeffers (13 pts & 9 rbs), Turner (12 pts & 6 assists), Chatman (11 pts) and Ky Bowman (16 pts & 8 rbs) all did their part to contribute to the upset win. This shows that when the offense doesn’t solely focus on Robinson and gets solid contributions from more than two people it can be successful. This of course hasn’t happened until this game, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Eagles have really found something or if the PC game was a fluke.

Wrap a Bowman on it

Ky Bowman is truly emerging as one of the better freshman players that Boston College has seen in a while. Entering halftime, he wasn’t playing all that well. After the half, though, he was the catalyst for that big BC run that the Eagles (almost) never looked back from. With his ball-handling and vision while leading the fast break, he was able to set up a flurry of scoring opportunities for the Eagles, including a couple 3s of his own and some dirty drives to the basket. With the transfer of fellow freshman Ty Graves, Bowman is being called upon to be the true point guard on this team (Turner more of a combo guard for now) and showed against Providence that no moment was too big for the young freshman. Don’t forget, he also had 33 points against Fairfield Wednesday night. Watching him on the court is impressive, and I think we’re even starting to get used to that bright red hair, especially when he’s delivering Christmas presents like the one he did last night.

Kyrome? Rowman? BowRobinson?

These two are clearly emerging as BC’s best players on both the offensive and defensive side of the court. Against Providence, they combined for 37 points on 14-22 from the field. These two are going to be the main source of offense for BC in ACC play and will need to play like they did against PC in pretty much every game for the Eagles to compete against ACC foes.

Physical Play in the Paint

Mo Jeffers actually looked like a semi-dominant big man against a fairly physical Providence team. He finished with 13 pts, 9 rbs, and 3 blocks, controlling the paint on defense and making some strong moves to the basket on the offensive side of the ball. BC needs a real presence down low to balance out the 3-point shooting and Jeffers showed that he could potentially be that guy, even if that just means being able to finish on pick-and-rolls. He’ll be in for a tough test in the coming ACC games.

Turner Needs to Step Up More

Ok, so I’ve been very positive so far because that really was a great (and extremely surprising) upset win for Boston College against Providence. But we can’t forget the fact that BC just played bad enough to lose to Fairfield and that there have been real problems for this team before this game. Turner is too talented for 12 points and 6 assists against PC to be the “breakout game” we’ve been waiting for. Yes, Robinson and Bowman have been good enough to pick up the slack, but if Turner can be more aggressive on the offensive end and do more than just spot-up shooting, that’ll open up the court for other shooters like Jordan Chatman to be that 3-point specialist. It was great to see more than 1 or 2 guys playing well at once, but guys like Turner, Tava, Jeffers, and Chatman all need to do this at a consistent rate before I get too excited about this team against tough ACC opponents.

Try to Avoid the Free-Throw Line?

BC once again struggled at the line, going 8-15. I’m not sure if the players just don’t like the pressure of being at the line or if they really just don’t practice enough, but it’s clearly a problem. What they did in this game, it seemed, was to avoid the line. It obviously wasn’t on purpose, but BC kind of benefitted from avoiding the charity stripe in this one. That said, they really need to fix their free-throw shooting soon.

Something about PC at Conte

Providence played horribly. Obviously it was great to see the Eagles step up on their home court in a packed (as much as it has been all year) house and deliver a truly exciting win against a rival New England team, especially in front of some local recruits. But Providence couldn’t hit their shots (5-24 from three, 40% overall) and were playing some real sloppy defense at times. Providence hasn’t won at Conte Forum since Ed Cooley took over as coach and for some reason things just seem to work out in BC’s favor when PC makes the short trip to Chestnut Hill. A pessimist’s takeaway: this was a fluke and BC is going to go right back to sucking when they place Syracuse. An optimist’s takeaway: This showed that BC can compete against good competition and win at least a few ACC games this year (yeah, “a few ACC games” is about as optimistic as we can get at this point).

For BC to compete like this in ACC play, they’ll need everything to go right…

Well, ACC play starts on the first day of 2017 with an afternoon game against a reeling Syracuse team. After the Fairfield game, it looked like BC was going to lose every game for the rest of the season. After the Providence game, well, who really knows? Pretty much everything went right in this game, as Robinson, Bowman, Turner, Jeffers, and Chatman all played extremely well and Providence really didn’t. For BC to actually compete in ACC play, that’ll probably need to happen again. Games against the Techs’ may be an exception to this, but in the tough games against an ACC that has 13 teams in the top 60 of the KenPom ratings (BC ain’t one of them) the Eagles will need pretty much everything to go right for them to come out on top. Maybe that’ll happen for a couple of those games and BC will pull off some upsets, like the one last night, but we’ll have to wait and see as Boston College heads into ACC play coming off a big Christmas win over Providence.