Boston College men’s basketball (16-12, 6-9 Atlantic Coast) heads down to Florida on Saturday afternoon with two-consecutive blowout losses in its rearview mirror. Coming off an 82-66 defeat in Raleigh to North Carolina State, the Eagles have now suffered four double-digit losses in ACC play.
NCAA tournament hopes are now all but a distant memory, but the Eagles still have much to play for over the remaining few games of the season, with a chance to finish with a winning record for the first time since 2011. As BC takes on the Miami Hurricanes (19-8, 8-7) on Saturday, the team will look to correct its course and once again defeat its conference rival.
Who is BC playing?
When is BC playing?
Saturday, Feb. 24, 2 p.m.
Where is BC playing?
Watsco Center, Coral Gables, Fla.
How to Watch:
The game will be broadcasted locally on RSN/NESN Plus. Nationally, the game can be found on ACC Network Extra and will be livestreamed on WatchESPN.
By the Numbers:
1) Jerome Robinson’s insane hot streak finally came to an end on Tuesday in Raleigh. Riding a four-game streak in which he had scored at least 27 points, Robinson shot a paltry 4-for-20 from the floor, including 0-for-6 from beyond the arc. The poor shooting performance was at least partly attributable to a nasty fall Robinson took in the first half, when the junior landed very hard on his left elbow. Despite returning to the game after leaving briefly, the Eagles’ star never looked comfortable shooting the ball. It was just the second time that Robinson had scored 15 or fewer points in an ACC game this season, with the other contest being BC’s 30-point loss at North Carolina in early January.
2) The Eagles had their second outstanding performance in three games on the offensive glass on Tuesday, snaring 20 offensive rebounds one week after grabbing 18 such boards in their win at Pittsburgh. Despite being largely undersized and routinely ranking among the worst offensive rebounding teams in the ACC for most of the season, recently, BC has done a much better job generating extra offensive possessions of late. In both of those games, Nik Popovic, and Steffon Mitchell combined to record 11 offensive rebounds.
3) Despite acquiring a reputation as one of the best shooting teams in the ACC—making nearly 40 percent of its 3-pointers in conference play as of last week—BC has quietly struggled from downtown over the last three games, making just 26.7 percent of their long-range shots. Against N.C. State on Tuesday, the Eagles shot a putrid 4-for-25 from beyond the arc, with Ky Bowman, Robinson, and Mitchell combining to shoot just 1-for-15. Though it’s not any sort of secret, BC needs to consistently make 3-point shots in order to compete against ACC teams, particularly on the road.
1) Miami knocked off Notre Dame, 77-74, in South Bend on Monday night, halting a three-game losing streak that began when the then-No. 25 Hurricanes dropped a contest in Chestnut Hill two weeks ago. After shooting 9-for-18 from downtown over the first 22 minutes of the game against BC, Miami shot just 14-for-61 on 3-point attempts over the remainder of their three-game skid. A team missing its best all around perimeter player—sophomore guard Bruce Brown is out with a foot injury—Miami is heavily reliant on a balanced scoring attack and its complementary players knocking down their triples. Against BC, the Hurricanes need to improve their long-range marksmanship in order to give its perimeter players more space to operate and to avoid forcing them into excessive isolation attempts.
2) When Miami does need an important basket, it’s recently been turning to their star freshman, Lonnie Walker IV. An explosive 6-foot-4 guard, Walker has developed his ball handling as the season has progressed, as well honing a deadly 3-point shot. He has knocked down multiple treys in nine of his last 11 ACC games, shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc over that span. Walker added 19 points and five 3-pointers in the win over the Irish on Monday.
3) The Hurricanes are shooting just 65.7 percent from the free throw line this season, ranking 326th nationally. With the exception of Walker, every Miami player with at least 30 free throw attempts is shooting below 70 percent. This lack of execution often comes back to bite the Hurricanes, particularly late in games. In the first matchup against BC, Anthony Lawrence II missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 2:32 remaining and Miami clinging to a narrow two-point lead, ultimately allowing the Eagles to steal a win.
BC upset then-No. 25 Miami, 72-70, at Conte Forum on Feb. 10, behind 29 points from Robinson. Trailing by seven points with 6:17 remaining, the Eagles held the Hurricanes scoreless over the remainder of the game, closing on a 9-0 run to seal the victory. Bowman provided the margin of victory by sinking a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining after he came up with a steal in the paint.
BC wins if…
It closes off penetration by Miami’s speedy point guards—Ja’Quan Newton and the 5-foot-7 Chris Lykes. If those two can’t drive into the lane and either get layups or create open 3-point shots for teammates, Miami’s offense becomes much less potent as it is forced to rely on its isolation game. A strong perimeter defensive effort, coupled with excellent help defense from Mitchell, should be what is needed to do the job.
BC loses if…
Miami generates a significant portion of its offense from clean 3-point attempts. Guard penetration and ball movement—two areas of emphasis that the Hurricanes failed to execute in the second half at Chestnut Hill—will likely be the keys to Miami creating its desired shot portfolio on Saturday afternoon.
Featured Image by Keith Caroll / The Heights