Marshall's Heroics Carry Eagles

Sean Marshall hit an off-balance jumper over two defenders as time expired to give Boston College an 85-82 victory over ACC foe Florida State.

Marshall was in early foul trouble and came out of the game with four fouls at the 14 minute mark of the second half.

"As soon as I sat down, I was poking the assistant [coaches] to get back in the game," said Marshall who finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Tyrese Rice carried the load in Marshall's absence, scoring 26 points, 18 of which came in the second half. Rice was on the receiving end of some fortunate bounces, particularly a three pointer that awkwardly clanged in to give the Eagles a 79-78 lead with 1:11 remaining. After two Florida State free throws, Rice converted on a slashing drive and lay-up with 31 seconds to regain the lead for the Eagles.

Rice's three-point shooting and acrobatic points in the paint complemented Jared Dudley and Sean Marshall's workmanlike performance on offense. Dudley finished with 23 points. Marshall effectively patrolled the baseline, capitalizing upon the zone defense of Florida State.

For Florida State, senior Al Thornton carried the load with 22 points, many of which came in the waning minutes of the game. Coach Leonard Hamilton elected to leave Thornton in the game with four fouls and 6:22 to play. Thornton avoided his fifth foul and dissected Boston College defenders on the low-post. Numerous NBA scouts were on hand to witness the athleticism of Thornton, and he did not disappoint.

"He's just a freakish athlete," remarked Dudley who ceded several baskets to Thornton but eventually forced a bad shot with 17.1 seconds left in the game.

Isaiah Swann added 13 points and 7 assists for the Seminoles, who featured a small and quick lineup for most of the game. The Florida State guards attempted to push the tempo of the game and force a depleted Boston College roster to keep up. Dudley and Rice played the full 40 minutes and looked sluggish at times because of the hustle and deep bench of Florida State.

After being tied 41-41 at the half, Florida State built a seven point lead at the ten minute mark of the second half by initiating fast breaks. The Florida State team was also able to convert on outside shots due to Boston College's lax perimeter defense, going 5-8 from beyond the arc in the second half. Boston College slowly climbed back into the game and went punch for punch in the last five minutes, trading possessions back and forth.

The win for Boston College improved their ACC record to 6-1 and keeps them atop the conference. After the recent suspensions of Sean Williams and Akida McClain and a crushing defeat at the hands of Clemson last Saturday, the win proved that the Eagles are still alive in the ACC. Coach Al Skinner praised his team for its resiliency and applauded the way in which bench players have stepped up to fill the void left by the suspensions.

The shot-blocking and shot-altering presence of Williams is sorely missed, though Tyrelle Blair logged 14 adequate minutes in the game. Blair, along with freshman Shamari Spears and John Oates, must replace Williams by committee. Blair, 6'11'', is the best fit for such a role, but was tentative in the Clemson game, finishing without a basket or a rebound. He did, however, improve in the second half of the Florida State game, converting on several dunks. Though there were moments when he stumbled, like missing an open dunk after a brilliant Shamari Spears pass, he fought back.

After the play, Skinner talked to Blair on the sideline and urged him to be assertive and aggressive on both ends of the court. He immediately followed with a strong drive to the basket resulting in two free throws.

After the game, Skinner and the Boston College players both noted that Blair and the rest of the defensive unit needed to step it up in order to sustain the level of success they've enjoyed in conference play thus far. The likes of Josh McRoberts of Duke and Tyler Hansbrough of North Carolina are sure to be a tougher match-up than the small, guard-oriented lineup that Florida State used for most of the night.

"These are the games you [have to] win, at home," said Dudley, who later alluded to a more desirable win in an upcoming bout against Duke.

The Eagles head down to Durham to take on the tenth-ranked Blue Devils on Sunday.


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