Eagles cruising into ACC play with five-game win streak

Prior to the weekend, the Boston College men’s basketball team was 5-1 when outrebounding their opponents. Predictably so, BC beat Holy Cross and Dartmouth to the boards over the weekend, producing two wins and padding a statistic worthy of attention. They now stand 7-1 going into ACC play when outrebounding the other team.

BC and Holy Cross played a tight game until early in the second half. When leading the Crusaders 37-35, BC’s Patrick Heckmann and Olivier Hanlan knocked in three vital three-pointers to spark a 15 point run.

Heckmann ended up with 19 points, a season high for the 6-5 sophomore guard from Germany. Combined with Ryan Anderson’s 18-point performance, the Eagles pulled away and secured a victory.

Two days later, BC romped Ivy-League bottom-feeder Dartmouth, 79-58. The youngest members of an already youthful team widened BC’s lead late in the first half. Freshman Joe Rahon drained six three-pointers on his way to a season-high 24 points. Olivier Hanlan added 15 points—the 10th game of the season in which the Canadian freshman scored in the double digits.

Prior to their five-game winning streak, BC’s defense looked hesitant and unorganized at times—often giving way to fast breaks and open shooting lanes for opposing teams.  Before going on a five game roll, the Eagles’ poor defense contributed to a 79-63 loss to Harvard—allowing the Crimson to go on a 15-1 run at one point.

Seemingly the lowest point of the season so far, BC dropped its fifth consecutive game to the Ivy League foe from across the Charles. Since then, Head Coach Steve Donahue has made some necessary changes.

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Freshman guard Drew Jacobs attributed BC’s stronger defense to increasingly challenging practices.

“We realize how important it is to continue to compete and work hard in practice while striving to improve…the competitive practices have been key to us going forward,” said Jacobs.

The past two games against Holy Cross and Dartmouth proved to be BC’s highest margins of victory this season, a reflection of Joe Rahon and Olivier Hanlan’s emergence as prolific scorers and a more focused defense.

The Eagles look to defeat 11-2 N.C. State on Jan. 5 at Conte Forum. This will be one of BC basketball’s only games to air on ESPN this year.

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