Boston College played a basketball game last Thursday night, and it wasn’t all that pretty. After being up by just two at the half, the Eagles defeated Division II Bentley University 85-75 in the exhibition.
The Eagles feature seven freshmen and have only two players that played meaningful minutes last year. So if there’s one takeaway, it’s patience. Trust the process. Bates and BC Athletics are trusting Christian with rebuilding basically from scratch—no easy task. It’s a project, and based on the exhibition, this season will be a very, very long phase one. But we can get a first look at how these guys play and how this team might fit together.
Defensively, the team is not ACC-ready, or anywhere close. Freshman Matt Milon talked about the difficulty of adjusting to the defense of college in an interview earlier this week. The story he told goes something along these lines: In high school, he had to do all the scoring, so he never guarded the other team’s best player.
At times against Bentley, the Eagles looked like chickens running around without a head on D. Playing man defense, the Eagles just don’t have everything down yet, whether it be working through ball screens or switching.
Particularly worrisome was the rebounding battle, which Bentley won 21 to 12 in the first half. That’s a team whose tallest player is 6-foot-6 outworking an ACC program. The Eagles did end up out-rebounding the Falcons, but only by two. BC did not take advantage of the clear size advantage in scoring terms either, as only 32 of 85 points came in the paint.
On the offensive end, the ball is going to be in Eli Carter’s hands a lot. He led the Eagles with 33 points, and looks like the only player on which BC can constantly rely. Running the point, Carter can pass really well, but his ability to score looked at another level, as Bentley players simply weren’t good enough to stop him from getting to the rim. A better sign of how Carter will fare in the ACC, though, is his shooting touch, especially while contested. Mostly creating his own shots, he was 12-of-18 from the floor, and most notably 4-of-10 from behind the arc.
As for the returners, it was good to see Darryl Hicks back on the court after sitting out his first two seasons at BC with back-to-back torn ACL’s. That said, he only played five minutes, and won’t figure to have much of an impact early on as he adjusts back to game speed.
Dennis Clifford and Garland Owens looked the same as last year. Both showed glimpses of being offensive leaders for this team. Clifford had some aggressive plays down low and Garland knocked down three of five shots, but then both showed poor touch around the rim and missed some easy opportunities. Clifford finished with the double-double 15 points and 10 rebounds—but again, it was against opponents who were all six inches shorter. BC needs more out of these two then what they showed on Thursday.
After Carter, Jerome Robinson looks the most ready to be thrown into the fire of the ACC. A lot of hype has surrounded Robinson in preseason, and he has already been pegged by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman as a breakout player for the Eagles this year. In the first official look at Robinson in a game, he lived up to some of the hype. He only played eight minutes in the first half, but finished with 14 points over 23 minutes. He can create his own offense, which couldn’t be said about many of his teammates. He showed some poise and patience with the ball and had some good fakes and ball moves to get to the rim and score, while also adding two 3-pointers from the corner. On one play, he took the rebound the length of the court, made a spin move in the lane, and hit the contested lay-up. BC will need that a lot this year.
The rest of the hype has belonged to A.J. Turner, BC’s top-rated recruit, but he didn’t impress in his first game. He repeatedly got beat early on defense and committed some bad fouls as a result. On offense, he shot a disappointing 1-for-7 from the field, and five of those shots were 3-pointers. Against a short team like Bentley, the 6-foot-7 freshman should be able to get to the rim more, but settled for long range shots which didn’t fall.
Meanwhile, Milon sneakily finished with 10 points on the night. His game isn’t flashy, and he doesn’t stick out much on the court, but he’ll make his shots. He knocked down two of three from distance, finishing 3-of-4 overall. He didn’t have the ball a lot, but he made it count when he did.
Credit to Bentley for putting up a lot of 3-pointers and making them. Tyler McFarland finished the game with 27 points, shooting 7-of-12 from behind the arc. But the game never should’ve been that close. Patience is a virtue, and BC will need it.
Featured Image by Daniella Fasciano / Heights Editor