The Eagles were utterly decimated at Conte Forum by the Massachusetts Minutemen, 82-46. The loss, now the worst defeat the Eagles have ever taken to UMass, drops them to 1-2 and with the way things are expected to go, they may not get back over .500 for the rest of the season. It doesn’t matter, since expectations were extremely low, but consecutive losses of this magnitude are simply terrible to contemplate.
The Eagles had a 16-8 lead in the first half, looking good and hitting their shots, but for the rest of the game thereafter, there was next to nothing. After the first six minutes of the game, the Minutemen outscored BC 74-30.
Lots of guys struggled mightily for the Eagles. BC only shot 31.1% from the floor, gave up ten three-pointers, allowed UMass to shoot 47.8%, and the Eagles committed 22 turnovers. The free throw shooting was again dreadful for BC, making 13 of 25 (52%). UMass outrebounded them by miles, 42-27.
Patrick Heckmann, despite sitting out the last few minutes with what appeared to be a re-aggravation of his ankle injury, was still BC’s leading scorer with 11. He also led the team in assists with four, was tied for second in rebounds with five, and was the only Eagle to make a majority of his free throws. Outside of Heckmann, BC went 4-13 from the stripe.
I think anyone who watches this team play will acknowledge that there is talent here. The kids have some pop and will eventually develop into a better team, but at this point, they beat themselves so much by making tons of fundamental mistakes that it becomes difficult for them to win games. For example, the passes they make are at times so errant or such poor decisions that it boggles the mind. With age, hopefully, will come accuracy and smarts.
This team does things right for sure, but when watching the games, you only see them in short bursts. During the first six minutes of the game, they looked like a real team; for the rest, however, we saw any combination of bad defense, bad shooting, bad free throw shooting, bad rebounding, and plenty of bad turnovers. Steve Donahue has so much to correct that I do not envy him his task at all.
I am not a sports psychologist or a basketball coach, so I will leave the diagnoses to them. I am not sure if it’s the team playing scared or without confidence, them just being so raw that there’s nothing that can be done, both, or neither. Whatever the case may be, it was a poor performance by a young team that appears to be nowhere near ready yet.
I must admit, I knew BC was going to lose 20+ games this year, but I did not expect them to make Holy Cross and UMass look like the Celtics. It’s only the third game, so there is no sense in going wild, but we need to hope these guys pull it together for the sake of their confidence and their future development. It’s going to be a difficult road ahead, and BC has a long way to go.