On Thursday evening at Madison Square Garden in New York, the Boston College Eagles were defeated by the #18 Connecticut Huskies, 72-70.
It was the first time the two programs had met in nearly nine years, this one coming in the 2013 2K Sports Classic. With the defeat, the Eagles fall to 1-4 on the season.
Boston College trailed for most of the contest, falling behind by double-digits on several occasions only to storm back at the end of both halves. The Eagles trailed by three at halftime, fell behind by a significant margin again, and then was able to close to within one score inside the final minute. With the ball, a two-point deficit, and just under 15 seconds remaining, the Eagles went down the floor with the ball and Olivier Hanlan missed an easy layup. He would later make a three-pointer to narrow the deficit to one, but the Eagles’ shot attempt for the win was blocked as time expired.
The Eagles shot 38.8 percent for the contest, making just eight of their 26 three-point attempts. Optimistically, Boston College connected on all but one of their 25 free throw attempts, an area in which they have mostly improved in recent times.
Connecticut turned the ball over only three times during the game; Boston College had ten turnovers. Ryan Anderson led all Eagles with 22 points while Olivier Hanlan had 19; the latter is somewhat deceiving as Hanlan went just 5-for-15 from the floor and made eight shots from the free throw line. Alex Dragicevich had ten points, but he also had a number of lapses which hurt the Eagles.
Pessimism generally seems to be the order of business around Boston College circles tonight. On one hand, the end result could have been much worse given that the Huskies are a ranked team, but at the same time, this loss was not an isolated incident. Almost beating good teams is small comfort when your team has beaten virtually nobody else, either, and when the losses are piling up early in the season with very few breaks in the schedule. Narrow losses to decent teams will not count for much if the Eagles can’t beat any other decent teams.
Given how the slate will only become more difficult from here, it is becoming clear that the Eagles’ season is quickly approaching a breaking point. A consolation game loss to either Indiana or Washington on Friday would put Boston College at 1-5 with no quality wins yet on the schedule and possibly only two or three more non-conference games in which they will be favored — against lower-quality teams. Despite being November, and despite making the game interesting, the Eagles have still taken their fourth loss and are dangerously close to putting themselves in a nearly-insurmountable valley.