The young Eagles mailed it in a little tonight and got caught by a game UMass squad, 83-80. If you were concerned about freshman mistakes coming into the season, this was your Exhibit A. BC had a litany of lazy passes, turnovers and forced shots. Tough time with the press, little hustle on loose balls. Not a good game, and you wonder how much of it was attributable to a victory hangover following BC's big ACC road win over Maryland Sunday. In any event, the Eagles lost this game early in the second half, when they frittered away a 3 point lead at the break and fell behind 15 points.
Ty Rice. Not the greatest game for Ty. He was rattled a little by UMass' full court press, but in fairness he really didn't get much help. Backcourt mate Tyler Roche was moving like Frankenstein and the Minutemen exploited that, double-teaming and trapping Rice at every opportunity. Ty still finished with 26 points, his turnovers (4) were not that bad given the pressure, and he had a clear look at a 3 to tie the game at the buzzer (clanked it off the back of the rim).
Corey Raji. Again a solid game, but in limited minutes. When he was on the floor, BC made some big runs. I really don't know why Al is not giving this kid 30-35 minutes a game (more on that below). Raji did not enter the game until the 11 minute mark of the 1st half, and did not re-enter until the 12 minute mark of the 2nd half. Why?
John Oates. Had his most meaningful offensive game in memory with a couple of big threes, some key free throws and a couple of big boards. But his defense was again atrocious - I will have images of Gary Forbes blowing by him for weeks.
Biko Paris. Generally handled the ball well in the face of tight pressure, with a few unsightly exceptions. Had a few big hoops and made some nice passes. But Biko again showed his age, committing some ugly turnovers (especially on entry passes to Blair).
Tyer Roche. I don't know what it is with this guy, but he looked half asleep out there. He hit a couple of shots, but sucked on defense and looked lost on the press. Al has to sit him down and give Raji some more time.
Al Skinner. I love Skinner, but the Roche over Raji thing is getting as head-scratching as Oates over Williams and Doornekamp over anybody. I know Al is still searching for a rotation, but it is clear that guys like Raji and Paris have to get a lot more time.
Free Throw Shooting: The stats may be OK (inflated by Rice), but it says here BC lost this game at the line when Roche and Blair went 1-6 early in the second half, right when UMass was going on its 21-6 run to takecontrol. Raji also clanged two freebies late in the first half when BC was looking to push the lead to 8.
Shamari Spears and Tyrelle Blair. these guys were pretty invisible against a mostly smaller UMass lineup. Spears in particular had a ton of shots blocked. But my big beef with these two was that they played with no fire, and it showed in their work on the boards.
Rakim Sanders: Had no presence whatsoever tonight. I'm giving Sanders a pass here, the announcers said he did not practice this week and was nursing a pretty sore hip after injuring it in the Maryland game.
That's it. All in all, a sucky game that BC let get away from them in the second half. But these are young kids. Most of the mistakes I'll chalk up to inexperience, and I did like the way they fought back (like the Providence loss). I just wish they could have escaped with a win, and learned the lesson without the L.