When you’re hot, you’re hot. When you’re cold, you’re cold. This was the story of the Boston College men’s basketball team 64-54 loss against the St. Louis Billikens on Tuesday afternoon–the Eagles’ third loss in their last four games.
The first half of the contest was competitive, yet ugly. The two teams shot a combined 30% from the field, with the Eagles hitting only 20% of their three-point attempts. The results from the free-throw line weren’t any more promising, as BC shot only 61%.
While some of the poor shooting on both sides can be attributed to tough and gritty defense, a bigger component was poor shot selection. Neither team was effectively working to penetrate the interior defense. When players on either side pulled up for perimeter jumpers, there was either a defender in their face or their feet weren’t set.
Turnovers played a major role in keeping the game close. While BC turned the ball over eight times in the half, St. Louis still outpaced them with 11. On BC’s part, their passing seemed to have improved from their previous game against DePaul, in which they had 16 turnovers.
On the other hand, simple mental mistakes, such as traveling violations and charging calls, cost them possessions that could have further extended their turnover margin, and as a result, their halftime lead.
Coming out of the half with a 26-24 lead despite their poor shooting performance would often be a cause for some optimism. Teams coming off a cold streak typically have a hot streak that balances out to the mean.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, this was only true for the Billikens. Just under five minutes into the second half, St. Louis would end up going on a 21-0 run to build up a 53-35 lead over BC. Even on this run, however, St. Louis still shot only 8-for-25 from the field.
The defensive effort was encouraging, but BC’s offense just couldn’t seem to find any sort of rhythm. Their offensive chemistry couldn’t seem to click until the last three minutes when BC went on an 11-1 run.
The turnover battle fell apart for BC in the second half as well. After finishing the first half with three fewer turnovers than St. Louis, the Billikens committed six fewer turnovers in the second half.
BC’s efforts proved to be too little, too late for a comeback, as the Billikens were able to hold on for the win.
Concerns about the Eagles’ ability to rebound could continue to plague them throughout the season. After giving up a total of 16 offensive rebounds against DePaul, they proceeded to one-up that performance by allowing 17 against St. Louis.
BC will only continue to struggle once they begin conference play. The ACC is arguably the best conference in basketball, so if BC is allowing 16 extra possessions every game–which could result in 16 extra points if even half of those offensive rebounds result in buckets–then BC could potentially go winless in conference play.
BC will now travel to Virginia to take on the Richmond Spiders on Saturday, Nov. 30 at 2:30 p.m. Richmond is 5-1, with their lone loss coming against the No. 18 Auburn Tigers. The Eagles need to win this game to avoid falling below .500 on the season.
With conference play just over a month away, many will look at the next game as a must-win to keep BC’s record at a respectable level.