Notebook: Missed Opportunities Plague BC’s Comeback vs. Miami

Boston College men's basketball

 

Jerome Robinson hit a three at the buzzer, but BC fell a point short of a big road win against Miami. In an up-and-down, back-and-forth game of runs, BC did a lot of things well but couldn’t quite get over the hump in the second half. For this team, every game seems to give a new player to praise, or a new aspect of its game to analyze, but it still has yet to put all the pieces together. Another game, another notebook filled with the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Three Up:

1) Screens, Screens, Screens

 

Robinson is deadly off the screen, and BC’s offense is most effective when Robinson gets the ball up top after one or more screens from the baseline. Usually, Robinson wheels around from the corner and gets the ball at the free throw line for a jump shot, but his shots weren’t falling early against Miami. Instead, Robinson made his mark in the first half as a passer, finding the big men down low for some easy buckets. Add some style points for this smooth no look bounce pass to Nik Popovic, who first gets Robinson open with the screen.

The one play that kept working for BC on the night is Robinson connecting with the big men. Starting under the basket, Robinson gets an off-ball screen from a teammate (Connar Tava and A.J. Turner in these cases) and receives the handoff from the big (Pop or Mo Jeffers), who then rolls to the hoop for the open bucket.

Robinson finished with six assists on the night.

2) Turner Shows Up

The sophomore guard has been getting the starting minutes this season, but he has yet to prove his worth after a lot of hype as a freshman recruit last year. Against Miami, he was just short of a career game with 15 points (12 in the second half) and kickstarted the BC comeback after halftime.

Against North Carolina last Saturday, Robinson and Bowman took turns throwing down fast break slams and energizing the crowd at home. This time it was Turner’s turn for one of the signature slams, which cut the Miami lead to four.

A minute later, Turner gets open at the top of the arc (note the help from the Jeffers screen) and hits the three. Turner kept the hot hand a couple of possessions later, knocking down a deep three over the defender for his 13th point of the game and 10th of the half. Both 3-pointers were crucial, as they were both answers to Miami threes on the other end of the court and kept the Eagles in the game.

BC never seems to get the total package from their starters. Tava might have a great game one night, but Turner will be absent. Against the ’Canes, Ky Bowman was largely absent from the game, but Turner stepped in and got hot, an encouraging sign for someone looking to up his 9.7 points per game.

3) Jerome’s Still the Man

Bowman has burst onto the scene as a freshman—one of just three rookies in the country with multiple 3o-point games this season—and has received a lot of deserved attention. On his red-haired giveaway night against UNC, he completely took over and single-handedly kept BC in the game. But the game against Miami reminded us that Robinson is the one averaging 20 points per game, compared to Bowman’s 12.9. After a poor start, Robinson kept going at it and eventually turned it on, scoring 21 of his 27 points in the second half, including two threes in the final 25 seconds. Robinson continues to lead the team.

Three Down

1) Slow Starts

 

It was truly a tale of two halves for BC, who did not start the game out well. Just compare the stats. First half: 31 percent (9-of-29) from the floor, 20 percent (2-of-10) from the three. Second half: 60.6 percent (20-of-33), 53.8 percent from deep (7-of-13).

Night and day for the Eagles, especially Robinson, who scored ten of his points in the final two minutes of the game. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, shot 48 percent from the field and 44.4 from behind the arc, allowing them to create a eight-point cushion at the half that BC couldn’t quite overcome.

2) Ball (Mis)handling

BC actually recorded its second lowest turnover total of the season against Miami, but the young team continues to struggle with controlling the ball. Especially in the opening five minutes, the Eagles played out of control and couldn’t capitalize on Bowman opening the game with a 3-pointer (BC’s only lead of the night). While the numbers were down, the sloppiness of the turnovers need to be addressed. It’s one thing to have the opponents come up with a great defensive play, but it’s another to just lose the dribble and hand the ball to the other team. Two poor giveaways emphasized BC’s bad start to the game.

Robinson, for all his pretty assists and late scoring in the game, had some trouble taking care of the ball and finished with four turnovers.

The Canes are second in the ACC in turnovers per game, behind the Eagles, and had three more turnovers in the game, but BC wasn’t able to punish Miami as much as the Hurricanes punished BC. Miami held the advantage in points off turnovers (16 to 11) and fast break points (16 to nine) because they were gifted easy transition baskets after careless BC giveaways at the top of the key. The ensuing 2-on-1 breaks ended in easy layups, and-ones, and trips to the foul line for the Canes.

3) Road Woes

This game was a golden opportunity for BC to make a big step in improvement and win a road game. BC has stepped up in Conte behinds its home fans, but needs to start performing as well away from home. The team played well against a ranked team in North Carolina at home, but lose by 13 to a fellow ACC bottom dweller in Wake Forest on the road. The two Syracuse games (a huge home win and bad road loss) are prime examples of BC’s highs and lows this year.

As mentioned above, Miami struggles with turnovers and sits just above BC in the ACC standings, making this Wednesday night game a winnable one for the Eagles. Yet BC couldn’t put it all together and pull away in a back-and-forth game. The opportunity was there, but BC fell just short.

Featured Image by Keith Carroll / Heights Staff

About Jack Stedman 65 Articles
Jack is the former Associate Sports Editor for The Heights. His first Facebook post was "basketball!"You can follow him on Twitter at @jackstedman_9.