The Boston College basketball team faced the 16th-ranked Baylor Bears in the Charleston Classic on Thursday afternoon. After leading at the half 43-41, the Eagles were in the game until Baylor pulled away in the final few minutes, and ultimately fell 84-74.
Even in the loss, it was a strong performance by a young team who looks ready to put their nine-win season of last year behind them. Here’s some instant analysis:
Ryan Anderson’s Breakout Continues
After a dominating 29-point, 17-rebound performance in his first game of the season, Ryan Anderson delivered the goods once again on Thursday. He scored 19 points in the first half en route to finishing with 25 on 9-of-16 shooting, and had six rebounds.
Anderson continued to look better finishing at the rim, and showed his versatility by making 2-of-4 three-pointers, including a halfcourt shot at the first half buzzer to give BC the lead. He also drove hard in the lane at times to get to the free throw line, where he was a perfect 5-of-5, a nice development after he struggled from the charity stripe last year.
It’s evident that Anderson is the Eagles go to guy, both on and off the court. Teams will now be equipped with game plans to stop him. If he can work with Donahue to figure ways around these while continuing to develop as a player, there’s no limit on his potential this season.
Checking in on Joe and O
With apologies to a recently departed Jordan Daniels, the team’s point guard spot is in a much better position this year. Freshman Olivier Hanlan is a capable ball handler and has shown a willingness to drive to the basket to create plays.
Hanlan was 6-of-11 from the field and 2-of-3 from beyond the arc to finish with 16 points and six rebounds. He limited the turnovers to three while being an essential part of most BC plays. If Anderson’s the leader on the floor, Hanlan is second in command and calls out plays for his teammates while handling the ball the majority of the time.
Joe Rahon, on the other hand, didn’t have as great of a game. While his three assists certainly helped the Eagles- which included driving and quality passing of his own- he had a couple of dumb turnovers that could have easily been avoided.
Rahon also shot 1-of-6 from downtown and is now 1-of-11 overall shooting on the year. That’s not bad luck—his shot looks terrible. He had a number of wide-open looks from three and missed them badly.
Rahon is a capable player that will be crucial to BC’s success in the future. But now, while his shot is not yet developed, it seems odd that he’s taken nine threes in only two games.
Van Nest Emerging
It’s always difficult to project how a transfer player will work out. In the case of Andrew Van Nest, it looks like we have our answer: quite well.
After a solid debut in which he played minutes for Dennis Clifford because of a smaller FIU lineup, Van Nest once again demonstrated that he deserves quality-playing time for this BC squad. He shot 5-of-6 from the field, including 2-of-3 from three, and contributed three assists and no turnovers in his 14 minutes of play. The Eagles certainly could use another interior presence after Clifford, and if Van Nest can continue to connect from downtown, he could be a better player than we’d had ever imagined.
This Year’s Different
At the end of the game, ESPN broadcaster Jay Williams said “I’m telling you now, BC is going to upset some big-time program in the ACC this year.” The potential the Eagles have shown in their first two games confirm that they’re a much better squad than last year. The three sophomore starters, most notably Anderson, have each made strides from last year. Their two freshmen guards are doing a good job executing Donahue’s half court sets, and have been able to get out in transition.
With 7:35 left against Baylor, BC trailed by one, and though they’d be outscored 20-11 from that point on, they’ve shown they can compete with quality teams. With such a young squad, there’s no question mistakes will happen throughout the year, but their age also leaves room for them to improve substantially this season.