Patrick Heckmann missed a potential game-tying free throw with eight seconds to go in the second half, and the Boston College men's basketball team fell to Toledo on Thursday night, 95-92, after giving up their first lead of the second half with 55 seconds to play in the game.
Freshman forward Garland Owens collected a career-high 12 points for the Eagles, and former ACC Rookie of the Year Olivier Hanlan had 18 points and six assists. However, an aggressive Toledo backcourt exploited BC's defense when it mattered most.
"This hurts to start like this," BC head coach Steve Donahue said after the game. "But I'm very confident we'll adjust to this adversity and figure this out."
Toledo guard Julius Brown had 23 points, four of which came off vital jumpers with under two and a half minutes to play. With the game tied 86-86 at the 1:18 mark, Brown converted a jumper off a missed Heckmann three-pointer to make it 88-86, Rockets. The Eagles would never regain the lead.
A play later, Toledo guard Justin Drummond was fouled by BC's Alex Dragicevich after a missed Ryan Anderson jumper. Drummond sunk both his free throws, and made it 90-86, Toledo. He was a perfect 7-for-7 from the line.
Heckmann drove hard to the basket on the very next play, drawing an and-one opportunity that he eventually capitalized on to make it 90-89, and the Eagles had a chance to take back a lead they had owned since the 16:51 mark in the first half.
With 18 seconds to go and the shot clock nixed, Toledo's Nathan Boothe sunk a pair of free throws to extend the Rockets lead to three after Owens' third personal foul.
Down by three, Heckmann hoisted up a three-pointer with eight seconds left in the game and drew a foul in a moment of incredible composure.
Bringing back memories of last year's nail-biting loss to Miami that featured a similar ending at the free throw line, Heckmann made his first and second free throws with ease. The third, and final, rung awkwardly off the rim and into the hands of Rockets forward J.D. Weatherspoon. Toledo held on to send BC to its first 0-3 start since the 1963-1964 season.
"Looking ourselves in the mirror, this is who we are right now, [and] we've got to dig ourselves out of this," a visibly frustrated Donahue said. "Its frustrating--with our offensive numbers and the way they've been--[I'm] just very disappointed with the defense and rebounding."
BC was out-rebounded 31-27 by the end of the game, despite out-rebounding Toledo 21-10 after the first half. Coach Donahue attributed his team's late collapse to a variety of factors, but specified that foul trouble and fatigue really hampered their depth.
"We've been playing fast. Part of it is fatigue," Donahue said. "There are certain guys that let fatigue hurt our game mentally and physically in our opinion....We're just not deep enough to continue to put our guys in these situations minute-wise and fatigue-wise."
Freshman forward Will Magarity got into foul trouble early in the game, which, according to Donahue, complicated his plans of rotating Odio, Anderson and Magarity throughout the game.
"A big guy like Ryan plays 33 minutes, and Eddie plays 37 minutes [and] that's way too much [time]," he said.
Ideally, Donahue wants to give Anderson, Odio and Magarity 30, 25 and 25 minutes of time a game respectively, but he acknowledged how difficult that may be given NCAA rule changes on defensive contact.
"There's a lot of things we have to adjust to, but two good things about this team--they are great kids and they are very coachable," he said.
BC plays Florida Atlantic University on Sunday night. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. ET.
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