A somber Jim Christian could hardly utter the words to justify his team’s showing—or rather, lack of it—Friday night in a home loss to Hartford, 65-63.
Who could blame him? His team just lost at-home to an opponent that has lost eight out of 10 of its last games—the latest of which was a 79-99 beat down from Quinnipiac Wednesday night. Couple that with your team’s leading scorer (and the 2nd leading-scorer in the ACC), who has averaged 26.3 points in the last three games, finish with a mere two buckets. At some point, you have to give credit to Christian for mustering up the courage to even walk in to a post-game conference.
“It’s disappointing. But, if you don’t come to play in Division I basketball, you get beat. I don’t care who they are, I don’t care what their record is,” Christian stated.
BC got on the board first and took the early lead to go up 14-4 with 14:14 left in the first, but Hartford took over the half at the end of the stretch, closing the first with nine unanswered points at 27-23---a lead they would fail to give up, even when it came down to the wire of the second half.
With 2:47 remaining in the contest, Connar Tava drew a foul on an and-one, bringing the score down to 54-56. Seconds later, Tava dished a breakaway pass to Jordan Chatman who drained a three to lift BC to 57-56, the first lead the Eagles held all half. For a moment, it seemed like Christian’s team might dig itself out of the deep hole it dug into with a 22% shooting average in the first-half.
However, Hartford’s Jalen Ross promptly shattered any glimpses of hope as he hit a three immediately on the next possession, reasserting the Hawks’ lead to 59-57 with 2:10 remaining in the game.
The same false sense of hope re-presented itself to BC fans a minute later when Mo Jeffers tipped in a Robinson attempt to push BC up by one at 61-59 with :51 to go. However, on cue, Hartford’s J.R. Lynch then immediately drained a 3 to slump BC hopefuls into the backs of their chairs. To top it off, Jason Dunne—who led all scorers with 25 points—hit a late three with three seconds left to secure his program’s first win against an ACC team at 65-63.
Fingers start pointing at who to blame following this loss. Jerome Robinson, who has scored 20 or more points in five out of the last six outings, did not score a basket the entire first half and finished the game with just four points. But, what Christian voiced as perhaps most concerning is that none of the other ten men who shared court time with him could pick up the slack.
“Our best player was tired today, and didn’t show up. But that’s okay---because that’s going to happen. We had a lot of guys who could’ve stepped up today, who didn’t.”
“Here’s the thing that I struggle with. We put 11 guys in. These are the games that somebody needs to step up from an energy standpoint, and it’s a great opportunity for guys who could’ve stepped up tonight.”
A.J. Turner lead the charge in points with 13 and Tava stood right behind him with 12. But, none of the other eight white jerseys out there tallied more than single digits.
“You just got to play better,” Christian asserted. “There’s a million things you could say. I take responsibility for it. I still believe in them. I still think they have a chance to be a good team. But we have to fix it.”
With BC now 4-5, the chief concern is how this team will fare on January 1st when conference play begins. Only four more games remain for this team to “fix it” come the big dogs of the ACC in the blue and white.
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