After an incredible victory over Virginia Tech last Saturday, Boston College men’s basketball took a brief respite from the frigid New England weather to travel down to Florida and face off against Atlantic Coast opponent Miami. The Eagles (12-13, 6-8 Atlantic Coast) have struggled with consistency this season, frequently alternating between strong wins and frustrating losses.
Last year, BC hosted Miami (12-12, 4-10) in Conte Forum where the Eagles took home a triumphant 64-57 victory. The Eagles hoped to reignite the same magic that had allowed them to top the Hurricanes in the teams’ previous contests, but failed to limit Miami’s dominant offense, falling 58-85 in Coral Gables.
Against all odds, BC took the early lead in its matchup against Miami. Even though the Eagles gave up a quick 3-pointer, they fought back with a 10-3 run to top the Hurricanes after less than three minutes of play. Steffon Mitchell fired up the Eagles with BC’s first three points of the match before passing the torch to Jairus Hamilton and Jay Heath, whose points helped BC quickly surpass Miami. And yet, despite the Eagles’ best efforts, the Hurricanes proved to have the upper hand.
While it took a few minutes for Miami to get going in this game, once they were hot, BC had no chance of keeping up. With 12 minutes remaining in the first half, the Hurricanes began what would become a 26-5 run against the Eagles, successfully preventing some of BC’s best offensive players from gaining possession and control.
After struggling to limit the Hurricanes for the majority of the half, the Eagles shifted gears and tried to find momentum before Miami completely ran away with the game. With just under four minutes remaining before the break, BC shut down the Hurricanes, going on a six-point run to close the gap. As the buzzer rang at the end of the half, the Eagles had managed to cut Miami’s lead to 15, but were still down 23-35.
Although the second half began with more back-and-forth play, BC did not fare much better against the Hurricanes. Miami, who only averaged approximately 10 assists per game going into this matchup, had collected nine assists by the end of the first half and only continued to compound that number when play resumed.
From the beginning of the half until 10:06 remaining on the clock, the Eagles just barely edged Miami in scoring, leading 20-17 as they attempted to further close the gap. At this point, BC came the closest it would be to its opponents in the second half, only down by 12 points. But just as had happened in the first half, the Hurricanes pulled away from the Eagles, further running up the score. For the remainder of the half, Miami outshot, outchanced, and outscored the Eagles as the Hurricanes went on a 30-15 run to close out the game with a final score of 58-85.
The Eagles’ problems cannot solely be blamed on the offensive dominance of Miami. BC shot 37.1 percent from the floor throughout the game, but only 29.1 percent in the first half. This low number is due in part to the low amount of attempts during that time frame—the Eagles made only 10 of the 34 shot attempts in the first. But BC was not so completely subordinate that the team was unable to get chances against Miami, the Eagles were just incapable of capitalizing on the few opportunities that arose.
In addition to struggling to score, BC also failed to limit its turnovers and had difficulty defending in such situations. While the Eagles had only one more turnover than Miami—leading the Hurricanes 12-11—their opponents managed to collect more points off turnover opportunities.
Featured Image by Lynne Sladky / AP Photo