BC Catches Fire From Deep vs. Dartmouth

Jerome Robinson pulls up from mid-range, misses, but quickly grabs the offensive rebound. He dishes it to A.J. Turner for the three—buckets. Three minutes and 16 seconds into the first half, and Boston College men’s basketball’s air raid was just beginning.

The Eagles went off from beyond the arc in their 88-70 victory over Dartmouth. Prior to Saturday afternoon, BC (4-3) had not made more than nine 3-pointers in a game this season. Against the Big Green (0-6), the Eagles broke the elusive 50 percent mark by draining 11-of-21 from deep. This past weekend at the Barclays Center Classic, the Eagles shot a mere 33.3 percent from 3-point land over the span of their two losses in tournament competition.

Back in Conte Forum, BC cured its shooting woes, not just from three, but also from the field in general. By converting 55.7 percent of its shots, the Eagles put up 88 points. Both their shooting percentage and total point value were season highs.

Five different players—Robinson, Turner, Jordan Chatman, Ty Graves, and Mike Sagay—cashed in from three. The selfless playing style was driven by ball movement and ultimately showed in the stat line. Overall, the Eagles assisted on 23 scoring opportunities, the most so far this the year.

Robinson 3-point shot from the corner vs. Dartmouth

Minutes into the game, it became routine. Penetrate and kick it out for the open shot, or simply bring the ball up and swing it to whoever had the best look. Coincidentally, many of these assists positioned scorers for “catch-and-shoot” opportunities. But the Eagles did not shy away from the paint either. In fact, they outscored Dartmouth 40-24 on the interior. Whether it came from a Mo Jeffers post move, a Connar Tava putback, or a Robinson layup, BC’s inside game complemented its perimeter shooting.

Head coach Jim Christian stressed that he never instructs his team to get points on the board  in a particular fashion.

“I’m not going into a game saying, ‘Hey we want 27 layups,’” Christian said. “I’d love that, but I want good shots. I want good ball movement. I want good player movement. I want us to understand what a good offensive play is.”

It appears that Christian’s players are catching on—especially Turner. Despite immense scoring potential, the 6-foot-7 forward has been extremely selective with his shots all season. Instead, he has focused on being a floor general. Unlike point guards, Ky Bowman and Graves, who constantly pushed the pace of Saturday’s game, Turner brought the ball up the court with patience. He surveyed the court and settled for the best option at hand. Turner took as many shots as he had assists: six. While the Eagles were expecting him to establish himself as the team’s second-leading scorer, he may be content with this efficient type of play.

Since Turner’s scoring numbers were down, others were forced to step up against the Big Green. And they did. BC’s bench scored 10 more points than Dartmouth’s reserves. Graves and Chatman chipped in 13 and 12, respectively, and Sagay, who received a career-high 15 minutes, posted five points.

BC’s supporting cast opened up the floor for its starters, enabling the Eagles to take over the game.

Turnovers have proved to be BC’s biggest flaw this year. But by limiting careless passes and pressuring the opposition, the Eagles turned this negative stat around to force 20 turnovers from Dartmouth. As Big Green mistakes compiled in the second half, BC strung together scoring chances, allowing it to stretch its lead.

From high percentage shooting to ball movement to ball security, the Eagles left few points on the floor. They even knocked down 9-of-11 free throws, as they continued to improve their marksmanship from the charity strike. Throughout the first three games of the season, BC shot 57 percent from the line. In the next four, the team has shot 78 percent.

BC’s win extended Dartmouth’s losing streak to six games—its longest to start the season since the 2006-07 campaign. Nothing seems to be going the Ivy League representative’s way. Dartmouth’s only bright light, sophomore forward Evan Boudreaux, was ejected during the second half, after smacking Tava as he was going up for a finish. Boudreaux, the conference’s fourth-leading scorer, had 23 points at the time. But, after all, the Big Green are 18-64 against current ACC schools. Even the odds were stacked against them.

The Eagles have shown that they can make the necessary adjustments to roll over a team like Dartmouth. But, until the treys start landing against teams from the Power Five, their legitimacy will remain in question.

Featured Image by Lizzy Barrett / Heights Staff

About Andy Backstrom 298 Articles
Andy is the sports editor of The Heights. He is from the suburbs of Philly, but has been an Arizona Cardinals enthusiast since the first grade. Every so often, he'll replay Super Bowl XLIII on Madden to exact revenge on his father's beloved Steelers. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyHeights.