Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Will BC’s first win be the start of something?

November 18, 2013 Columns No Comments

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Let’s just put this right out there: Boston College needed Sunday’s game.  Badly.  They almost didn’t get it, and if that happened it wouldn’t be pretty.

They pulled out an 82-79 win over Florida Atlantic, and while the questions about this team will keep coming, the Eagles come away feeling like this is the beginning of better things.

“Now that we’ve got it in our back pocket, I think this is going to get the ball rolling a little bit and we’re going to start to play good basketball,” said sophomore guard Joe Rahon.

That may sound good in theory, but turning it into reality is another matter.  What the Eagles have shown thus far, including in Sunday night’s win, isn’t very encouraging, especially for a veteran team.  Injuries have also been a concern, and that may hurt them more than anyone originally thought, but that’s not all.

On the health front, the Eagles got Lonnie Jackson back on Sunday, but lost Eddie Odio.  Odio has been banged up all along and gamely battled through it, but finally on Sunday just couldn’t go.  That hurt on the glass, an area that continues to be a problem as the Eagles were again out-rebounded, this time 36-31.  More concerning is that they continue to get pounded in the second half, this time to the tune of 25-13.  That’s where a lack of depth comes in, and while Dennis Clifford, out for at least another few weeks, isn’t going to own the boards, he would be one more big body to help distribute the frontcourt minutes and help there.

Things have gotten so bad up front that on Sunday, K.C. Caudill played some meaningful minutes.  It helped that in this case, there was someone he could match up with, as he’s slow and has never gotten into good shape.  He didn’t have a rebound on Sunday, but he did eat space and give the other big men some rest.

Instead, the Eagles have needed some minutes from freshman Will Magarity while also having to go small often.  On a night where Ryan Anderson just didn’t have it (seven points on 2-10 shooting, although he had seven boards), Magarity came up big late, sticking back a miss with 1:25 left to make it a two-possession game.  That salvaged the night at least, but any way you slice it, the big men had a bad night on the glass as Anderson, Caudill and Magarity combined for nine rebounds.  Florida Atlantic’s Justin Raffington, their starting forward, had 11 all by himself.

“I think at this point, teams sense our inability to guard down low, so they take us down there, throw it up on the glass,” said head coach Steve Donahue.

That area is only one problem, however, although there appeared to be real strides in another problem area: offense.  The Eagle offense hasn’t looked like it should through the first few games, with the ball not moving as well as it should, Olivier Hanlan letting the game come to him perhaps more than he should, and as the struggles continued they seemed to press.  On Sunday, Florida Atlantic scored the first seven points of the game, and you could see the Eagles trying to do too much offensively.  They were trying to get it all back at once, until, interestingly enough, Jackson came into the game.

Jackson had just three points and three assists, but he brings a lot to the table to potentially be a stabilizing influence.  Since he can shoot, he’ll draw some defensive attention, and his passing ability is underrated.  He’ll have to shake off a little rust and continue to get back into shape, but it’s clear his addition will be a welcome sight even as Garland Owens has emerged as a suitable starting wing.

“He just knows the game, how to play, he knows how to be in spots,” Hanlan said of Jackson.  “Even when he was injured, he was kind of a coach on the sideline, so having him out there is fun.”

Rahon got untracked on Sunday, and it didn’t hurt that he hit a buzzer-beater from just behind midcourt to put the Eagles up by five at the half.  He finished with 17 points, but had just one assist as the Eagles just couldn’t capitalize on some of the chances.

Hanlan finally started to play like the player many expected.  He averaged 20 points in the first three games, which isn’t too shabby, but didn’t look like himself in doing so.  Rather than attack often, even to create for others – and he admitted he was trying hard to involve his teammates – he tended to let the game come to him, and that may not be best for this team since he and Owens are the only Eagles who can reliably get by a defender.  His Sunday line matched the appearance, as he scored 38 points on 11-19 shooting from the field and 12-14 from the line.  While no one will expect 38 points a night, this kind of play is what they need from him – attacking and trying to put the defense on its heels, especially since the way games are being called can also help him get to the foul line often.

That’s a big step forward for this team, and if there is something encouraging, it’s that the Eagles have been close despite the fact that they have not played a complete game yet.  Hanlan wasn’t quite himself in the opener and wasn’t any better against UMass, while Rahon had one assist with five turnovers and no one up front had a good night on the boards against Toledo.  Anderson struggled on Sunday night.  If they can get everyone playing well in the same game, wins might be a little easier to come by.

If Rahon is right, the Eagles may soon turn a corner.  They will have chances to make up for the early losses, with Connecticut on Thursday and either Indiana or Washington on Friday in New York.  While Connecticut should be an NCAA Tournament team, the Eagles may match up with them reasonably well from the standpoint that the Huskies aren’t very big or deep up front.  Indiana and Washington are both younger but very talented.

But while making up for the losses will be nice, the Eagles need to solve some of their ongoing issues.  They need to rebound better, be a better second-half team overall (they have been out-scored by an average of 8.5 points per game in the second half and have been out-scored in all four games in the latter frame) and run the offense the way they are capable of.  Getting Jackson back should help with the last one, while the other issues require more from all of the players.  If they solve those issues, Sunday night can potentially be more than just a case of stopping the bleeding.

Comment on this Article:

Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Coaching Changes

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – May 30, 2018

May 30, 2018 by

The NBA Draft and its deadline to withdraw to return to school leads the way in our latest podcast. We also look at one conference’s new scheduling plans, a number of quick hitters, and pay tribute to a fallen conference leader.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 26, 2018

April 27, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we spend a lot of time looking at what the Commission on College Basketball came up with, as their report was just produced. We also look at the NBA Draft and transfers, which have many rosters potentially in flux for next season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 6, 2018

April 6, 2018 by

In our first podcast in the postseason, we look back one more time on the NCAA Tournament, which was just what we needed at this time. We also look at the NIT, CBI and CIT, as well as important transactions with players leaving early for the NBA Draft and coaching changes.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 3, 2018

April 3, 2018 by

The 2018 national championship is in the books, and with it another season of college basketball. We break down the national championship game and some of its implications to wrap up the season.

College Basketball Tonight – April 1, 2018

April 2, 2018 by

Welcome to our Final Four edition of College Basketball Tonight. In this edition, we look ahead to Monday’s national championship game, and bring on two guests – long-time Villanova radio play-by-play broadcaster Ryan Fannon and Radford head coach Mike Jones – to get their thoughts and insights on the game.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.