As a well-known man from before my time once said, “two out of three ain’t bad.” That is, in fact, what the Boston College Eagles ended up getting this weekend, with hockey carrying the weekend and the basketball team playing a forgettable game in Tallahassee.
The hockey team kicked off the weekend with a 3-2 win at Agganis Arena against Boston University, the recap of which you can read here. The following night, Saturday, the Eagles made the five-mile trek back home to Conte Forum to beat last-place UMass-Lowell by a score of 5-3. Jimmy Hayes led the way in that one with two goals, and goalie Parker Milner earned his third win of the season with 22 saves. BC is now out in front in Hockey East play with a two-point lead over New Hampshire.
The bad news was how the basketball team played at Florida State, a game in which they lost by 16. The second-best player on the team in my estimation, Biko Paris, was sidelined by illness, and immediately, I think we all knew that a difficult game was made more difficult by his absence. Early on, it was evident that Boston College would not be able to do much offensively. Florida State is a good defensive team, and I won’t take anything away from them as they were clearly the better team, but it isn’t like BC didn’t have their looks. The Eagles had their chances to put the ball in the basket with a minimum of defensive pressure, particularly from beyond the arc, but again, they were relatively cold from outside. In fact, with a 35% field goal percentage, you could say they were cold everywhere.
Boston College’s defense again wasn’t anything to write home about, but back to the previous point (offensive struggles), during the game, we heard Bob Valvano talk about BC “making the extra pass.” It worked on one play, a three-pointer from the right corner, but failed on so many others. There were times when BC would have had a clean look if they took the shot, but instead they kept passing it around and got pressured into taking late contested shots. There is such thing as passing too much, and part of the reason why the game devolved as badly as it did is because the Eagles passed up their better opportunities, almost seeming like they were a little bit flustered or panicked.
Another new area of concern from last night’s game was the free throws. BC shot only 50% (9/18) from the stripe which is simply inexcusable. I don’t care where you play, who you play, or what level you are at: the free throw is pretty much the easiest shot to make in basketball, aside from a completely uncontested layup, and they found a way to miss half of them. Had they made a higher percentage, the game would have been closer for longer, and perhaps the complexion of the game changes as a result, who knows. The bottom line, however, is that BC did too many things wrong against the Seminoles on Saturday night for the loss to be pinned on any one thing. Biko Paris playing probably wouldn’t have made the difference by itself, but they’d have perhaps lost by less. Same thing with the free throws, or the passed-up shots, so on and so forth. What we needed was a far more complete effort from the Eagles in Tallahassee, and we did not get it.
Looking at BC’s upcoming schedule, you may start to become a little concerned. A near-certain loss to Duke is next this week, followed by two home games against North Carolina and Virginia Tech (both of which may be must-wins to keep the Eagles from going into a complete meltdown). This will be an interesting stretch of basketball for sure, but one thing I know is that if this effort is duplicated, the losses are going to start piling up. It’s now up to Boston College to buckle down and start playing more intelligent basketball.