One couldn’t help but be excited Saturday afternoon when the Boston College Eagles opened their season against the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers. The Eagles won big in their home open, 75-49, and they did it a fashion that left fans wanting more.
The first 12 minutes of this game were some of BC’s best in a long time. The Eagles opened on a 13-0 run, pushing that to 19-3 in the first 12 minutes.
Coach Christian could not have asked for better execution in the early stages of the game. The offense ran flawlessly, with Eli Carter doing much of the ball handling, creating offense for himself off the bounce with ease and making sure his teammates were in position to score.
Carter repeatedly showcased his ability to get just enough space with the dribble to knock down open jump shots, all while looking very comfortable shooting while moving. Carter finished with 23 points and a surprising 7 rebounds.
Despite Carter’s standout performance, the best showing Saturday may have come from his backcourt partner Jerome Robinson. The freshman put on a show, finishing with 19 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Robinson even chipped in with an emphatic block on a good help-side slide on defense. He did all of this with tremendous efficiency, shooting over 50 percent from the floor and 100 percent at the line.
Coach Christian raved about Robinson after the game, saying, “He picks things up very quickly. You can make a comment to him during a game and he will immediately fix it or already know it.” Robinson looked very patient and took what the defense gave him, but gave the crowd some fireworks when he had the chance.
BC looked much better on defense than it did perhaps all of last season. The Eagles forced 13 turnovers, blocked five shots and held the terriers to single digits for the first six minutes of the game.
Idy Diallo showed tremendous athleticism and instinct on the defensive end, rotating over to record a huge block. He also was able to alter tons of shots on the inside when he was on the floor.
Unfortunately for Diallo, staying on the floor was not that easy. The guy who Christian labeled “the best ball screener we have” picked up a couple illegal screen calls, leading to his eventual disqualification with only nine minutes played.
Offensively, he might not have tremendous touch, but he showed aggressiveness in attacking the rim off a pick and roll feed—an aggressiveness BC hasn’t had on the block since it had Ryan Anderson.
For Idy, it will be all about how many minutes he can stay on the floor. The NCAA generally wants refs to be quick with the whistle early in the season, so if Idy can avoid fouling out going forward, the Eagles will have a great inside presence coming off the bench.
Ervins Meznieks showed some hustle and craftiness in drawing a great charge during the game. Matt Milon also looked very good defending the perimeter players of St. Francis.
The Eagles' second half was far less dominant than their first, which ended with a 41-16 lead as execution started to slip. Christian did admit that some of that can be attributed to it being the first game action of the year for everyone. Therefore, legs got tired quicker than normal.
Some of it could have also been the Terriers playing better than they did in the first. Last season, they were a 23-win team that was a buzzer beater away from going to the NCAA Tournament.
While the game was great, Coach Christian emphasized that it was by no means perfect. There were many areas for the Eagles to improve upon going into their next contest.
Defensive rebounding was a struggle for the eagles, as the Terriers had 10 offensive boards in the first half alone. Two of the experienced guys, Eli Carter and Garland Owens, committed a combined 7 turnovers. Clifford was one of six from the floor and couldn’t finish inside, but was facing against Amdy Fall, who was eighth in the nation in blocks last season. Eli Carter also went a rough one for five from the free-throw line, something you can’t have from your primary ball handler going forward.
Despite all of that, this showing from the Eagles has to give people hope. The team played with more passion and energy than all of last season.
Guys like Sammy Barnes-Thompkins came in and provided tons of life, and plenty of scoring in Sammy’s case. This group of young guys loves the game. They get up and go crazy for their teammates on the bench. They fly around the court. They look like the genuinely enjoy playing together.
Couple that with some instruction from Coach Christian and the coaching staff and leadership from Eli Carter and the other upperclassmen and this team could seriously surprise this season.
The team's next game is this coming Thursday night at 6 p.m. vs. Central Connecticut here at Conte Forum.
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