Rhode Island 78, BC 72: Eagles Drop Double OT Decision


Boston College did not play their best game of the season in their first of 2012 — far from it, in fact — but they hung in there.

Unfortunately, hang in there is about all the Eagles could manage as they lost to Rhode Island in double overtime, 78-72. The Rams got just their third win of the season while the Eagles have fallen to 5-9 as they prepare to enter an extremely difficult ACC schedule.

The Eagles, as they have in so many other games this season, got out to an early five-point lead, but the Rams whittled it away and blew past BC, taking a double-digit lead minutes later. Boston College was able to narrow that gap as well, tying the game on a few occasions but going into the half trailing by three.

BC trailed for most of the second half, though they didn’t let Rhode Island get too far away. They were able to retake the lead with 6:58 to go on a Lonnie Jackson (12 pts.) three-pointer, but were unable to hold it as Billy Baron answered. The lead flipped again but Rhode Island was able to tie the game, but missed a buzzer-beater and the game went to overtime.

In the first overtime, Rhode Island got out to a five-point lead, but the Eagles stormed back, ending that period with a Patrick Heckmann (11 pts.) buzzer-beater layup to force a second overtime.

The second overtime was far less charitable to the Eagles, as the Rams got up to a six-point lead with about a minute to go on another Billy Baron three-pointer.

Two major problems for Boston College today were offensive rebounds allowed and turnovers. The Eagles turned the ball over nine times in the first ten minutes of the game, and finished with 16 on the game. The rebounding was far more egregious, however: BC was outrebounded 45-31, and outrebounded on the offensive glass 21-5. That’s right: Boston College gave up 21 offensive rebounds to a 2-12 team. It’s nothing new that the Eagles were unable to rebound, but getting outrebounded so badly — particularly in giving Rhode Island a large number of second-chance points — bodes very, very poorly for ACC play. More on that in a moment.

For Boston College, it was a strange, mostly-unimpressive effort. Even though BC hung in there, had many chances to win, and shot the ball well (whereas Rhode Island did not), they also made plenty of mistakes; far too many, and better teams will take advantage. It felt as though BC should not have been in the game, and yet, it didn’t feel like Rhode Island played well, either. BC’s defense was fine at times but all of it was forgotten as the Eagles couldn’t buy a rebound.

Ryan Anderson must have read this morning’s article, because he stepped up his game today. He led BC with 18 points and 14 rebounds, notching another double-double. Furthermore, he played with fire, which had been lacking. There were a few other BC players who deserve notice, like Lonnie Jackson for making some more big threes and Patrick Heckmann, who was invisible for the first 39 minutes of the game but came alive when BC needed him most.

Still, say what you will about BC’s grit and guts, but they didn’t win and, more importantly going into conference play, they got utterly crushed on the boards (particularly the offensive glass). Their next game is North Carolina, and it is my expectation that the Tar Heels will be favored by about 35 points by the bookies. BC is going to start playing teams much bigger, more talented, and more physical than Rhode Island, starting in Chapel Hill, and they’re showing serious deficiencies again. It would still be a little premature to project out an end-season record for this team, but they are going to lose a lot of games in the ACC, badly, if they play like they did today.

Again, give credit to the Eagles for hanging in there and making some big shots, but this team is taking a lot of issues into conference play. They have to figure them out very quickly.