The Eagles opening the game well and then tailing off in the latter part of the first half is starting to become a trend, and this afternoon was no different. To start the game, BC showed nice ball movement and got a few easy layups from Josh Southern and Joe Trapani. At about the 7:00 minute mark of the half, the Eagles actually had a ten-point lead. As per usual, however, sloppy turnovers and some forced shots, along with an abnormal amount of fouls (see below) and nine offensive rebounds for the Hokies allowed Tech right back into the game (down only three at halftime).
The second half was a back-and-forth affair, with neither team able to acquire a commanding lead. Early on, with Reggie Jackson struggling, Biko Paris and Corey Raji were able to take some of the scoring load with a few nice shots. Later in the half, the Eagles went away from any sort of inside game and reverted back to the traditional jacking up threes strategy, allowing Va Tech to stay close. The game came down to a clutch three-pointer by Trapani and some missed free throws and sloppy possessions on the part of the Hokies, allowing Donahue and the Eagles to barely hang on. Some more thoughts after the jump:
- One area of concern for BC this game was offensive rebounding, where BC got doubled up 14-7 leading to a number of second-chance points for the Hokies. At this point in the season there's little that can be done about our size problems, but Donahue weirdly went with an extra-small lineup at times with Southern or Trapani as the only big man on the floor. My guess is he did this for offensive reasons, but it seemed to backfire as the Tech players - especially Jeff Allen - were able to rebound almost at will.
- Gabe Moton saw a lot of playing time in the first half, but didn't totally seem to warrant it. He seemed tentative passing the ball, and often would disappear on the offensive end for long stretches.
- Speaking of tentative players, Reggie Jackson has been mired in a nasty slump the past few games, and he didn't even score a point until 11:07 in the SECOND half. This is probably due to the fact that his opponents have been much better defensively and have been able to contain him. For Reggie to truly be a dominant player, he needs to learn how to handle these types of defenses. It wasn't all bad for Reggie tonight, however - he did have one beautiful seeing-eye pass to Courtney Dunn in the first half for an easy layup. When the defense clamps down on him as has been the case recently, he needs to look for more passes like this.
- For the first time this year I was disappointed with the referees. BC is one of the best teams at keeping opposing teams off of the foul line, but the refs seemed to blow the whistle every other time down the court. This isn't a homer argument, either - there were a number of fouls called on Virginia Tech that were likewise questionable, including the push-off call at the end of the game that sealed the deal for the Eagles.
- What does this all mean for BC's NCAA tournament chances? In the second half of my ACC preview, I noted that BC probably needs two out of three wins vs. VTech, @UNC, and @VTech (without, of course, any bad losses to the likes of Wake or UVA). They're half the way there with the win this afternoon, but winning on the road (something that this team has yet to really prove they can do) against either of those teams will be a much greater challenge. Still, this is a good first step and at least keeps BC's hopes alive.