BC absolutely stole one on the road down in Tallahasee this afternoon, 68-67, when Tyrelle Blair buried a 12 footer with 3 seconds left to fuel the escape. Indeed, the Eagles had the lead in this one for only 3 game minutes, so to come out with the victory in such hostile environs is truly amazing. Jared Dudley (23 points, 10 boards) and Ty Rice ( 23 points, 5 boards, 3 assists) continued their incredible play, but the real story was Blair even before he hit the game winner. Blair stepped in for horrid horrid John Oates and turned the game around for the Eagles, who were getting eaten alive by Seminole superstar Al Thornton. Blair repeatedly stuffed Thornton (19 relatively quiet points), forcing him into 7-19 shooting from the field, and was generally disruptive to any one from Florida State in the paint. In fact, Blair submitted a pretty credible Sean Williams impersonation with 6 blocks and 6 boards -- he was no doubt a "difference maker" in every sense of the term.
Dudley and Rice were just outstanding. Dudley made the play of the day when he converted a bigtime 4-point play to knot the score at 64, and Rice was controlled and smart driving to the hole throughout the entire game. BC also got some key performances from Shamari Spears and Marquez Haynes. Spears had another great outing, wide-bodying his way around the basket for 7 tough rebounds and 8 points, and Haynes drilled a couple of critical jumpers when BC really needed some offense.
Now for the bad stuff. John Oates may have submitted the worst 9 minutes of basketball in the history of the game. 7 minutes into the first half, he had jacked three crazy treys that all badly missed the mark, and then was benched after committing his 3rd personal foul (you read that right - 3 fouls in 7 minutes). One of his fouls was of the lean and soft contact variety that is his penchant, the infernal kind that puts opponents on the stripe for 3-point plays. When Oates hit the pine, BC was staring at a 22-9 deficit, largely because of his dismal play. At the start of the second half, Oates immediately threw up another wild trey, and again committed a soft foul that led to another 3-point play for the Seminoles. With 2 minutes gone in the frame, so was he. For the game, BC was outscored 30-13 with Oates on the floor, but trounced Florida State 55-37 with him off it. Time to make a change, Al.
Sean Marshall also sucked. Again. For the fourth straight ACC game, Marshall didn't even show up. He was scoreless in the first half, and finished with an invisible line of 6 points (on 2-8 shooting) and 2 turnovers. Someone needs to wake this guy up and remind him it's his senior year.
Looking ahead, BC gets reeling Duke on Wednesday, who got manhandled by Maryland today for their 4th straight loss. The pessimist in me could say that they are a dangerous opponent that might come out angry and play hard. But you get angry after two losses, not four. The overrated Dukies are playing with zero confidence, and are led by the most overhyped point guard in their history, crappy white boy Greg Paulus (7 turnovers today). The only thing that worries me is Josh McRoberts having his way in the post. That's why the Blair outing today is big; with him on the floor BC can neutralize some of what McRoberts can do. If Oates plays a lot, the Eagles will be in trouble.
All in all, let's give a lot of credit to BC for a huge road win today. Florida State is one tough squad, they've beaten a lot of good teams, especially down there. To come out with a W all but seals an NCAA bid in my opinion, which is quite an accomplishment given all the injuries and suspensions BC has endured this year.