Boston College holds on to beat Stony Brook
(Ryan Silva for wzbcsports.com)
The Boston College men’s basketball team survived a late scare to beat the Stony Brook Seawolves Sunday at Conte Forum, improving to 2-1 on the year so far. The Eagles started the game slowly turning the ball over frequently on the offensive end. The first point of the game wasn’t scored until almost two minutes into the game, that being a free throw made by Jerome Robinson. BC quickly found their rhythm however and built up as much a 23-point lead, with Robinson leading the team in scoring with 15 first half points, and ending the game with career highs in points (22) and rebounds (8). Robinson showed great strength in this quarter, with many of his points coming form highly contested drives in the paint. Nik Popovic and Mo Jeffers left their own marks on the first half as well, scoring a combined 12 points and contributing 9 rebounds through the first frame.
The second half started off just as slowly as the first. The Eagles only hit 4 shots in the first 9 and a half minutes of the half, which, coupled with their lack of defensive pressure, allowed Stony Brook to lessen the gap to 8 points. The Eagles were able to keep this lead fairly stable until the last minute and a half of regulation, where Stony Brook came within 4 points of BC on two separate occasions. The offensive spark in the quarter came from Nik Popovic, who converted a 3-pointer, layup, and as dunk on three consecutive Boston College possessions. Popovic’s performance, as well as the free throw reliability of Robinson, AJ Turner and Jordan Chatman in the last minute (perfect 8 for 8) allowed BC to stave off Stony Brook’s late push to come out with an 82-75 victory.
One of the Eagles’ few struggles in the first half came in the turnover department, where 6 players recorded a total of 10 turnovers in the half. “They weren’t doing anything to turn us over. They weren’t trapping, they weren’t really pressing. They were all, for me, unforced turnovers,” said head coach Jim Christian during his post-game press conference. “We were shooting the ball at a pretty good rate [65% to finish the first half]… so those possessions, you don’t get back.”
The second half defensive woes also directly coincided with the lack of offense for most of the half in the eyes of Coach Christian. “In the second half we played poor defense, so we couldn’t get as many transition opportunities… The defensive intensity just went away. We stopped doing the things offensively that got us in a good rhythm.”
“The last two games we’ve stepped on the floor, we have gotten visibly better… I think we played the right way,” said Coach Christian when talking about some of the positives in this game. He specifically spoke about free throws and, though their free throw percentage needs to be better, he is still happy with the trend. “I’m very very encouraged. We took 36 free throws today. I don’t think we took 36 free throws in any two games if you combined them from last year.”
The Eagles will look to continue their upward trend on Tuesday night when they take on the Towson Tigers at Conte Forum.