(Kenneth Goetz for wzbcsports)
Coming off a rough 74-66 loss to Harvard, BC was looking to rebound with a win against a Hartford team that has been struggling so far this season. Going into this game, Hartford had a 2-8 record and suffered a blowout loss to Quinnipiac. From tip off to the final buzzer, this was a very ugly game for the Eagles. In the first half, both teams had more turnovers than made baskets, while shooting below thirty percent. In the second half, BC struggled to improve in either of those categories, which led to Hartford’s upset of the eagles.
BC’s offense controlled the tempo of the first half by driving to the paint and focusing on getting the ball into the post. BC’s tempo and shots close to the basket limited Hartford’s ability to run in transition, where they have thrived this season. However, BC struggled mightily in making shots in the paint and on drives. The Eagles made it a focus to get Ty Graves involved on offense in the first half, since Robinson was in foul trouble for most of the first half. In the first half, Robinson did not score a single point and had five turnovers. Nearly half of the Eagles 23 points in the first half came on an early 11-2 run. After that run, BC’s offense struggled greatly throughout the rest of the half. Just before the break, Robinson was slow to get up after taking a hard fall. He went back to the locker room, but came back into the game soon after.
Boston College’s defense was the major story of the first half.Boston College held Hartford, a team known for their three-point shooting, to 25% three-point shooting and 27% overall shooting in the half. BC’s defense also forced 11 turnovers. The Eagles’ big men controlled the paint on defense all game. Johncarlos Reyes, Robinson, Nik Popovic, and Connar Tava had great individual defensive games. BC did a great job on defense limiting open threes and forcing Hartford to drive to the paint and take tough midrange shots. Despite keeping Hartford’s offense and star Hawk Jason Dunn in check in the first half, the second would prove to be a completely different story.
To put a positive spin on the second half is a really difficult task. For most of the second half, BC’s defense struggled to guard the three-point line and keep Jason Dunn in check. Dunn ended up leading both teams in scoring with 25. Also, both teams struggled holding onto the ball in the second half. For most of the second half, Hartford thoroughly controlled the basketball game, building up a ten-point lead at one point. The Eagles continued their first half goal of controlling the paint and did so much more effectively. However, Hartford was able to get on the fast break and score much more effectively in the second half. BC took the lead with less than 2 minutes to go in the second half, however BC struggled to guard Jason Dunn who hit a three-point shot with 2.3 seconds to go. BC was out of timeouts and had to force Robinson to take a difficult half court heave.
One positive note for the Eagles is that Nik Popovic made his return to the rotation and had a solid second half. He scored a quick five points and made solid plays on defense. One should look forward to Popovic’s growth and development throughout this season as he begins to adjust playing college basketball. Another positive, was the overall strong game from Connar Tava. He had several strong drives to the basket and got to the free throw line frequently, going 6-for-7 in his trips there. Also, Tava continued to show his prowess in passing the ball as a big man. He had three assists, though that stat does not begin to do justice to his overall passing. On defense, he played solidly overall, collecting a pair of steals. One of those steals led to a big BC transition score. Finally, Garland Owens contributed several nice plays from the top of the key and high post area. Owens had some great inside out passes that found an open shooter.
Sadly, no amount of positive takeaways changes the fact that this loss to Hartford is really as bad as it comes. The Eagles lost to a team whose only wins have come against Niagara and Sacred Heart. The Eagles will look to gain their momentum back against Auburn in the Under Armor Reunion game at MSG on December 12. WZBC Sports will have the broadcast from the World’s Most Famous Arena on 90.3 FM Monday night.
FINAL SCORE: BC-HARTFORD 63-65