The story has been told so many times this season that it’s almost become cliche. Pick an article at random written about the 2013-14 Boston College men’s basketball team and you will likely find a statement similar to “The BC Eagles fell in a tough, tightly contested game.” Well, that’s the short summary once again of what happened over Spring Break for the Eagles, as the team fell at home to Florida State and on the road against NC State.
Throughout the season, BC has relied heavily upon sophomore Olivier Hanlan and junior Ryan Anderson. Typically, the Eagles have required a strong effort from both players in order to secure a victory—a feat that has occurred eight times. Against Florida State, BC was only able to get one of its two stars going. Hanlan had a solid game, tallying 20 points and carrying the Eagles early on.
Ryan Anderson, on the other hand, struggled mightily against the length and athleticism of Florida State’s big men. The most shocking stat of the night was that Anderson was somehow held without a single shot attempt or rebound throughout the entire first half. His early inability to crash the boards cost BC in the 74-70 loss.
Instead, the big man who made the biggest mark on the game was KC Caudill. The junior has seen substantially more playing time over the past week, earning at least 15 minutes of playing team over each of the team’s last three games.
The 6-foot-11, 269-pound center possesses the size the Eagles need to match up against the bigger opponents they will face in the ACC Tournament. Caudill played 21 minutes against the Wolfpack and averaged 19 minutes on the floor in the team’s last three games.
“Just go in there, box out, get rebounds and contribute on the offensive end and utilize my passing and my post moves,” said Caudill of his game plan.
His duties extend to the other side of the floor as well.
“Clog things up, set screens and get guys open,” Caudill said.
Head coach Steve Donahue said that, despite Caudill’s lack of production in the box score, the junior has become a valuable asset for the Eagles.
“I think he’s helping us in a lot of ways,” Donahue said. “The other thing I like about him on the offensive end is you can throw it to him. He’s very solid with it. We run some action at the elbow with him and he can get cutters.”
Against NC State, BC was not in a position to tie or win in the final minute like it was against the Seminoles. The Eagles challenged on the road, though, as Hanlan notched 29 points and five rebounds, while Anderson added 15 of his own. The junior forward led BC on a 15-point run in the second half, chipping in seven of those 15 to give the Eagles a one-point lead.
The team controlled the game late in the second half, but couldn’t hold on in the 78-68 defeat.
Despite BC’s struggles, sophomore Joe Rahon noted a feeling of hope on the horizon via the coming of the ACC Tournament.
“It’s kind of like a fresh start, to be honest,” Rahon said after the loss to Florida State. “Everyone goes in there and you control your own destiny in the ACC Tournament. You know you need to win four games in four days and all of a sudden, we’ve accomplished our goal of making the tournament.”
While few give BC much of a chance, the Eagles go into the ACC Tournament with a positive mindset.
“I think we’re playing as well as anybody,” Donahue said. “I would love for our guys to be rewarded for that effort.”
Coaches around the ACC, including Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton, are aware that BC poses a threat.
“I’ve got to take my hat off to this team,” Hamilton said. “They’ve played so many close games this year. I hope that people understand that they’ve got everybody back next year, and I hope we only play them once and I hope it’s at our place.”
Donahue will see if his team’s effort is rewarded in Greensboro, NC at the ACC Tournament. Last year, Olivier Hanlan put up 41 points against Georgia Tech in the first round. He’ll get another chance against the Yellow Jackets on Wednesday night. With Hanlan playing at the top of his game and contributions from Anderson and Caudill down low, the Eagles have the chance to make a run. It’s time for the Eagles to finish, or the team will be heading into an offseason that could be full of major changes.
Asst. Sports Editor Alex Fairchild contributed to this report.