Freshmen, Oates Pitch-in vs. Buffalo

Chestnut Hill - Tuesday night at Conte Forum, the Boston College Eagles showed they are a very confident and competent basketball team, even if their preseason All-American is not on the floor.

Craig Smith was taken out of the game with 7:07 left in the first half after picking up his second foul; the rest of the team responded by going on a 13-0 run. Smith also had to leave the game at the beginning of the second half when he dove for a loose ball at mid-court and received a gash over his eye that required six stitches. How did BC respond? They increased the lead over the Bulls to 33 points en route to their 92-63 victory against Buffalo.

"We'll play without him," head coach Al Skinner commented when asked why his team was not rattled when Smith was taken out of the game. "We love playing with him, but we know how to play without him."

One of the reasons BC was able to produce without Smith was the play of John Oates, who had his best game to date with the Eagles. At the beginning of the game BC's offense was sloppy and Buffalo took a 6-4 lead, but coming out of the first media timeout John Oates drilled a three at 15:04 that gave BC the lead that they would not relinquish for the rest of the game. After scoring 7 out of BC's first 11 points, John Oates received a loud ovation from the crowd when he was taken out of the game midway through the first half. In addition to his 9 points, Oates looked solid down low by grabbing 7 boards and tallying 2 blocks.

Another reason for BC's success was the outstanding guard play of the two freshmen, Tyrese Rice and Marquez Haynes. Rice had 12 points, including two early three-pointers that helped BC open a large lead over the Bulls, and he had several dazzling passes throughout the game. Rice and Haynes shot a combined 7-8 from the field, 3-4 from the foul line, and poured in 21 points. When asked of the effect that Rice and Haynes will have on the team, especially on the fast break and energy level of the team, junior forward Jared Dudley said, "they get the energy pumping in here, the crowd likes it. It gives us a different style of game and if we have that all year, it will be a big help to us."

After shooting an abysmal 0-11 on Sunday in their win against Shawnee State, the Eagles showed great discipline from behind the arc and shot 60% by going 6-10.

Buffalo was led in scoring by their junior forward from Morocco- Yassin Idbihi- who scored 22 points and Parnell Smith, who had 18 points. The Bulls moved their record this season to 2-1 and their all time record against ACC opponents to 0-16.

Next, BC travels out the city of lights where they will play in the Las Vegas Invitational. They play Drake in the first round on Friday and if they win, they will square off against either TCU or Oklahoma State for the tournament championship.

John Roe is the hoops beat writer for Ask him a question on our Premium Message Board.

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