Harvard Stuns Eagles

In one of BC's most lackluster performances in recent years the Eagles fell at home to cross-town opponent Harvard. Boston College struggled to shrug off the emotional high of defeating North Carolina and was outplayed by Harvard in all facets of the game.

As Coach Al Skinner said in his post-game interview, "it's a short trip from the main house to the big house to the out house". Tonight this squad had to learn that lesson the hard way.

In one of BC's most lackluster performances in recent years the Eagles fell at home to cross-town opponent Harvard. Boston College struggled to shrug off the emotional high of defeating North Carolina and was outplayed by Harvard in all facets of the game. It was obvious the team was feeling the hangover effects of the huge upset the previous game. The Eagles lacked energy and focus and this was clear throughout the game.

BC played very poor team defense from start to finish and each player was consistently beat off the dribble. The Eagles had no answer for Harvard guard Jeremy Lin. Lin was a one-man wrecking crew for Harvard. He scored 27 points to go along with 8 assists, and played lockdown defense on Tyrese Rice. Skinner used a combination of defenders on Lin, but Rice, Sanders, Raji, and Jackson failed to slow him down.

BC was slow in transition and gave up easy buckets to Harvard, which allowed them to build up and maintain their lead. BC allowed several full-court assists by Lin, which resulted in uncontested layups for the Crimson. Part of the problem was the Boston College defenders were over-aggressive when trying to block shot attempts and go for steals instead of moving their feet.

As a result, BC was frequently caught out of position and Harvard was able to shoot 50% for the game, including 61% in the second half. Rakim Sanders, just days removed from his spectacular effort against UNC was benched and barely saw the floor in the second half after getting beat numerous times in the first half.

BC trailed 33-27 at half time and never got within 6 points the rest of the game. BC's best chance to come back came after Corey Raji completed a three-point play to make the score 47-41 in favor of Harvard with about 12 minutes remaining. But the Eagles could not get a defensive stop when they needed one and they fell behind by as much as 16 points in the game.

The team did not start playing with a sense of urgency until they fell behind by 14 points with two minutes left. BC made another push near the end to cut the lead to 8 points, but the Harvard team made 20-23 free throws attempts, which ultimately sealed the victory for the Crimson.

Offensively, BC looked sloppy and lackadaisical from the start. They committed 16 turnovers in the game, which is above their season average. The offense was stagnant and could not get into any sort of rhythm. They made only 2 of 13 three-point attempts and never developed a post presence, despite a significant size advantage. The offense failed to generate open looks and there was little movement around the basket.

As usual, Raji played solid, scrappy basketball with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Reggie Jackson struggled shooting (4-11 from the field) but was one of the few players on BC, along with Raji, who hustled and maintained his intensity for the duration of the game. He also handled some point guard duties briefly and looked pretty comfortable. Trapani struggled to find his outside shot and went 6-16 from the field (12 points) to go along with 9 boards.

Tyrese Rice committed 5 turnovers and had only 3 assists. He managed to finish with 14 points before fouling out late, although 11 of those came within the final 4 minutes. Rice was held in check primarily by Harvard's Jeremy Lin and he settled for some difficult shots in traffic. The team, in particular Rice, showed no emotion this game, even when the crowd tried to will the team back into the game mid-way through the second half.

One ESPN commentator called this game the biggest surprise so far this season and possibly all year. The win marks the first time Harvard has ever defeated a ranked team. A loss like this could hurt BC come tournament seeding time, but as long as the team takes care of business in ACC play it may not have a significant impact.

Boston College looks to bounce back this Saturday when they host Atlantic Coast Conference foe Miami at 7pm. The loss drops BC to 13-3 on the year, while Harvard improved to 8-6.

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