In front of a paltry and mostly disinterested Conte Forum crowd last night, Boston College lost to Maryland by a final score of 88-80. The Eagles fell to 3-7 and continued what has become an atrocious start to what seems to be a lost season.
This was supposed to be a breakout year for Boston College basketball. But instead of breaking out, the Eagles have broken down. They’ve looked especially bad in their last three defeats, more or less rolling over and dying in blowout losses to Purdue and USC before the home loss last night. The Eagles are putrid on the glass, ranking 343rd in the nation in rebounds per game. And they certainly don’t defend well. Steve Donahue’s team has given up an embarrassing 84 points per game in the seven losses. BC’s perimeter defense is bad, their interior defense is worse, and opponents have had a field day hucking open threes and getting easy layups against the Eagles. Recent attempts to zone up have done little to improve things.
In spite of all the losing, there’s a lot to like about this Boston College team. Even last night, in a game where BC seemed totally incapable of getting defensive stops down the stretch, there were reminders that BC’s got some terrific players. Olivier Hanlan got into the lane whenever he wanted, finishing with 26 points and 8 assists. Ryan Anderson continued what has a been a brilliant offensive season for him. And athletic freshman Garland Owens had the best game of his young career, scoring 16 points. BC also continued their torrid shooting at the free throw line-they went 22-27 against the Terps and lead the nation in charity stripe shooting.
The Eagles are also unquestionably the best 3-7 team in the nation. But that doesn’t change the fact that they’re 3-7. Or that they don’t guard. Meanwhile, this is Steve Donahue’s fourth year on the Heights, and what should be a veteran group playing good basketball instead looks like one that has hardly played together. That fact can’t possibly bode well for Donahue or his future with the Eagles. The fact that BC is unable to fill half of Conte Forum for a majority of their games can’t either. Conte has yet to eclipse graveyard status in any game this year and the student section is almost invisible.
BC started playing well down the stretch of last season. There was a sense of momentum entering this season. That’s gone, dried up by the losses and defensive futility. Not even the spectacular Olivier Hanlan seems capable of salvaging the season. These are dark days in Conte Forum indeed.