Boston College just wrapped up an 85-76 home victory over the Gamecocks. The Eagles led by large margins most of the middle twenty minutes of the game, but the Gamecocks roared back to make a game of it before tapering off in the final three minutes. Devan Downey led all scorers with 29, while Rakim Sanders led the Eages with 22.
Here are my thoughts on the game:
- As per usual, we played very poorly in the first half but much better in the second. We both shot the ball better and forced quite a few turnovers to get back in the game. Unfortunately, this tendency doesn't work quite as well against higher quality teams as it does against cupcakes, as we tend to be in a bigger hole when we rally and can't count on the opponent to completely wilt against the big boys.
- Tonight was a little better than some others, but what's still probably hurting us most right now is our poor outside shooting. I had hoped that Devan Downey, Brandis Raley-Ross, and Evaldas Baniulus could combine to shoulder the load here now that Zam Frederick has graduated, but our only consistent threat is Raley-Ross. Without a good shooter, defenses can back off us on the perimeter, making it harder for Downey to get into the lane and for us to get the ball to our post players.
- On the subject of Downey, he played great tonight. Unfortunately, he did miss some key threes that could have swung the game our way late. Hard to complain too much, though. He carried us yet again.
- We lost the battle on the boards by 10. This was to be expected, given our recent struggles and Boston College's dominance in this department. Unfortunately, I'm not really sure there's much we can do about it. We're playing lots of small lineups with Mike Holmes and Dominique Archie out. To make matters worse, the three taller players we do have could each use an extra 10-15 pounds of muscle. We're just going to have to deal with this, at least against teams with the personnel to be physical underneath the basket.
- I love the effort and general efficiency Muldrow is playing with. If not for Jarvis Varnado, the guy could have had a chance to lead the SEC in blocked shots. I would say, though, that I'd like to see us pull the plug on having Muldrow shoot threes. I know he can make them, but I think he could help us more under the basket, where he's adept at pulling down boards.
That's a wrap for this one. At the end of the day, while I'm proud of the way we battled back in this one, I really would have liked to see us win. The chance was certainly there. We now only have one remaining opportunity to net anything resembling a quality OOC win, against Baylor this Saturday. Let's hope we come ready to play in that one. I'd love to see us start the day with a win there and finish it with another one against UConn on the gridiron.