March 3, 2013

Rahon's Three Wins Game

Turning Point

This was yet another home game that looked like it would end with a disappointing result for the Eagles. Much like in the Wake Forest and Maryland victories though, BC closed when it counted.

With a little over four minutes remaining it would've been tough to find many people inside Conte Forum that believed BC would win. Joe Harris (15 points) had just took matters into his own hands with 4:27 to play when he took Olivier Hanlan to the rack and made a tough shot over the point guard. The bucket gave the visitors an 8 point lead. Considering that Virginia is one of the best defensive teams in the country (20th in effective FG%), and plays with one of the slowest tempos in the country (15th slowest of 347 teams), there was good reason to believe that the game was over.

Instead, the Eagles went on a 12-3 run to close out the game, which didn't come without adversity either. One of the biggest sequences came with 39 seconds left, and it didn't even go BC's way. Jontel Evans missed the front end of a 1-and-1, and the rebound deflected into an open area. Evans was the first player to dive on the ball, and Ryan Anderson quickly came flying in and grabbed the ball as well. Referee Les Jones inexplicably awarded the Cavs a timeout despite Anderson having his hands on the ball. If a jump ball was called, the Eagles would've gotten the ball back down by just a point.

"There were so many things that went against us. There were a couple calls that I thought damn that's a tough one. It was probably the right call but it was tough to swallow. On that loose ball we were right there. A lot of times teams don't get that timeout," said Donahue after the game.

After the timeout BC fouled Harris, a 78% free throw shooter. Harris hit one of two, to give BC the ball down two with under 30 seconds left. After a BC timeout, Patrick Heckmann got the ball and drove down to the right of the free throw line. Heckmann was met by a host of Virginia defenders and was stopped dead in his tracks. However, the forward saw Rahon wide open on the opposite wing and hit him with a perfect pass. Rahon drilled a three and got fouled with 8 seconds left to give BC the win.

"When Patrick drove that ball--- I think last year I probably would have called timeout because I would've said I don't trust him. I sensed like Joe did that you know what, he knows what he's doing," said Donahue.

What Went Right

Overall, BC played good defense in this game. Virginia was held to 42.6% shooting from the floor, which is 3% below its season average. The Cavaliers shot exceptionally well from long range (7-of-15), mostly due to BC collapsing on any player who tried to penetrate to the hoop. It was a risk worth taking though considering that the Cavaliers are the 10th best three point shooting team in the ACC.

What Went Wrong
The Eagles didn't get much from the bench in this game. In fact, no player outside of the five starters scored a point.

Decisive Matchup

Emotion played a big part in this game. Before tipoff, Boston College sports information director Dick Kelley received the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's Most Courageous Award. Kelley was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease, in 2011. It's an incurable disease that affects movement and speech and eventually causes death. Kelley has played a positive part in each of the BC' players lives and many of the players were openly emotional watching Kelley receive the award before tipoff. After the game, Olivier Hanlan said that the team was playing this game in honor of Kelley. It showed with the team's never die attitude over the last few minutes.

Biggest Surprise

Everyone knew that there was a good chance that the Cavaliers might suffer a letdown performance after a huge win against Duke on Thursday. However, I think the scenario most would envision is the team not coming out ready to play. In reality, it was the exact opposite as Virginia opened the game with a 15-7 advantage.

Three Stars of the Game

1. Joe Rahon-Rahon finished with 15 points and had the game winning shot. An underrated part of his stellar performance was his defensive effort against Joe Harris. Rahon covered Harris for much of the 2nd half and was a huge reason why the ACC Player of the Year candidate was held to 14 points.

2.Olivier Hanlan-The point guard was the 2nd leading scorer for the Eagles with 13 points. Hanlan made a huge play with just over a minute to play and the Eagles down three. Eddie Odio picked up a block on the defensive end which bounced into the hands of Hanlan. The point guard took the ball and went coast-to-coast for an explosive layup which cut Virginia's lead to one.

3.Patrick Heckmann- Heckmann hit three treys and made the game winning assist to Rahon.

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