Littlejohn Coliseum, the bane of BC basketball, looked to be toying with the Eagles once again early in this matchup, as Clemson ran out to a 12-5 lead in the first five minutes. Two Corey Raji threes later, BC was right back in the game, and the rest of the half was back and forth, with neither team able to build more than a five point lead.
Despite the fact that BC only lost by eight, the second half wasn't nearly as close. Clemson came out hot to start the second half and BC folded like the lawn chair Al Skinner is sitting on somewhere. To be fair, the Eagles made a nice run towards the end of the half (coming within five points after a Biko Paris three-pointer), but that makes it all the more frustrating that BC showed such a lack of effort earlier in the half. This loss won't kill BC's tourney chances, but - just like the losses to Duke and UNC - it's depressing that the Eagles seem to just curl into the fetal position and wait for the final buzzer at the first sign of a run by the other team. A few more thoughts after the jump.
- Even taking into account BC's eyesore of a defense, BC could have won this game if ANY of the role players on the team contributed. Instead, Reggie Jackson (27 points) and Joe Trapani (22 points) made up about 70% of our offense, with only Corey Raji contributing anything else worth noting (8 points, 6 rebounds).
- Clemson's Jerai Grant (17 points) was largely able to have his way tonight down low against the Eagles. The worst damage was done when Josh Southern was on the bench and Joe Trapani was forced to guard Grant, but even when Southern was in the game, Grant was able to exert his will. Neither of those big men are anywhere good enough on the defensive end for BC to handle even a slightly above-average big man. It's a serious problem that Donahue needs to address through recruiting as soon as possible. Where's Sean Williams when you need him?
- One reason BC was able to keep the game close in the first half was (surprisingly) due to a +10 rebounding margin, including nine offensive rebounds. Clemson, one of the best rebounding teams in the ACC, did a much better job boxing out in the second half, leading to fewer chances for the Eagles on the offensive end.
- Reggie Jackson had another great statistical game, but in non-transition possessions he often set up the offense almost at the half-court line. By starting offensive plays this high, Reggie made it easier for Clemson to adjust to cutters and drives and burned a lot of time off of the shot clock before any good looks. Not sure if this was Donahue's plan or Jackson's own response to the tight Clemson defense, but either way it didn't work very well.
- The ESPNU announcers tonight were worse than their normal mediocrity, with Kevin Negandhi (normally a back-up SportsCenter anchor) handling play-by-play duties and Jon Barry (normally an NBA studio analyst) and Drew Barry (Jon's black sheep brother) the color men. Some lowlights include one of the Barry brothers remarking that BC had one of the best defenses in the ACC, Jon Barry admitting he doesn't watch college basketball usually, and Kevin Negandhi shouting, "Here comes the offense!" on one Clemson possession.