Is this the win that turns BC's season around? In a game that appeared to be headed to a blowout, the Eagles buckled down on defense, and ran the Flex offense to perfection in the second half to overcome a 17-point deficit and turn it into a 79-75 win at Miami.
It was the men versus the boys for the first 30 minutes Tuesday night in South Florida, as after a nice five minute burst to start the game, the Eagles got into foul trouble and the game looked to be over five minutes into the second half.
However, there was a complete turnaround in the second half, as the Canes erratic style of offense began to betray them, which led to the Eagles being able to capitalize in a tough road win that could jumpstart their hopes to make it back to March Madness.
This game actually went from Ugly to Bad to Good, so let's break it down in that order.
Josh Southern's poor effort
I hate even wasting space talking about Southern's play Tuesday night. He got two fouls in seven minutes in the first half, which handicapped an already undersized Eagle squad. His second stanza wasn't much better, as he got called for his third foul before the ball was even inbounded and then his fourth came with 17:30 to play.
Southern's foul trouble led to Joe Trapani, Tyler Roche, and Evan Ravenel to deal with Reggie Johnson and Dwayne Collins down low. The Twin Towers for Miami exploited the size differential, and for a while it looked like they could not be stopped.
First half play of BC's Bench
The Eagles bench also was a sore spot in the first frame. BC's bench was outscored 15-4 in the first half, which deflated all the early momentum that the Eagles gained from an early half court trapping defense.
THE GOOD (maybe even Great)
BC's Hot Start
Boston College came out like a ball of fire to start the game, hitting their first 10 of 13 shots from the field. Miami then switched to a stretched 2-3 zone, and the Eagles went ice cold - finishing the half 4 of 19, one of which was a 25-foot bomb by Trapani at the buzzer.
The Half Court Trap
The Eagles forced three quick turnovers by utilizing a half court trap that Miami was not ready to handle. Al Skinner may have stayed with it too long, however, as after Miami adjusted to it, they were able to get some easy looks.
Cortney Dunn's interior defense
Cortney Dunn's stat sheet may not look impressive (1 pt, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block), but he was very physical with Reggie Johnson and Dwayne Collins in the second half, which disrupted their rhythm and sparked BC's run to cut into Miami's lead.
Joe Trapani's Shooting Effort
Trapani led the Eagles with 31 points, and had a hot hand to begin play, finishing the first half with 17 points. After his outside shot went awry in the second half, he started to pound the ball into the paint, keeping the game within reach with back-to-back 3 point plays in the second half on drives to the basket.
BC cut Miami's lead to 2 from 17 with 7:30 left to play with a 22-7 run. Miami's playground habits of trying to make flashy passes and quick shots allowed the Eagles to come roaring back.
After getting gouged inside most of the first half, the Eagles began to double-team Miami's big men, essentially forcing them to kick it out - and as Miami began to get cold from the field, BC started to grind away at that 17 point lead.
Reggie Jackson did his best Vinny "The Microwave" Johnson impression as he kicked his game into high gear in the second half - slashing to the hoop, drawing fouls, and hitting tough jumpers. His highlight of the night was a drive to the left where he curled around his defender, Dunn sealed his man down low, and Jackson got an easy layup. Jackson's 15 second half points were a major factor in this comeback victory.
Down the stretch, the combo of Jackson-Sanders-Trapani-Dunn-Roche seemed to be playing excellent team defense, and made the flex offense run like a well-oiled machine. Coach Al Skinner deserves a lot of credit for experimenting with different lineups to try to get BC back on track, then sticking with this group as they gelled down the stretch.
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