Eagles Off To Fast Start

OK, everyone who had Boston College 2-1 after its first three ACC games, stand up and take a bow.

Sit down! You're lying.

There were many who felt this young team wouldn't win two league games all season. But here were the Eagles, losers at No. 3 North Carolina in their conference opener, home winners over Clemson and Virginia Tech in a span of three nights, sitting at 2-1 as they prepared for a week that called for a visit to North Carolina State and a home game against Wake Forest.

Sure, the Eagles got some help in their second two-game winning streak of this season. Clemson's Devin Booker missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with one second left and his team down a point. Then, Saturday, Virginia Tech came in with leading scorer Erick Green sitting on the bench because of a knee injury sustained earlier in the week.

And the Eagles tried to hand the Virginia Tech game away with sloppy ballhandling at the end.

But they won both games by two points and moved to 7-10 on the season.

"With two good ACC wins under our belts we can definitely feel positive," freshman forward Ryan Anderson said after the Virginia Tech win. "I feel it is coming alive in Conte, and it is a lot of fun out there to play."

And looking at what's going on in a conference that seems to have a lot of parity (or mediocrity), you have to think this team can win its share of games.

-- If you don't believe strange things can happen in college basketball, consider this: North Carolina got clobbered by Florida State Saturday, Florida State has already lost to Clemson and Clemson has lost to Boston College.

"Clemson is a good basketball team and college basketball is hard to explain this year and probably forever," coach Steve Donahue said after the Clemson win. "They beat a very good Florida State team by 20 and I watched it and it was extremely impressive.

"For us to come out and really compete and get a win, obviously the rest of the league says, 'You know what, they are playing.' There is some respect there."

-- After Boston College's second straight two-point win, coach Steve Donahue said, "It's not always going to be like this. We're going to have days when we're scratching our heads. We're going to be up and down.

"This (win) is real good for us though. We reacted well. We're going to consistently get better, but there's still going to be bumps in the road."

-- BC has won four straight and five of the last six games against Virginia Tech, its old Big East pal.

-- Freshman G Jordan Daniels hit five straight points to give his team a five-point halftime lead against Virginia Tech. He hit a 3-pointer and then, as time expired, nailed a floater. "Early in the season, one of our weaknesses was the end of the halves," said coach Steve Donahue.

"I thought that was a huge step, because the game could have gotten away from us a little right there. It was just a huge five-point swing in that stretch."

BY THE NUMBERS: 15 -- Number of points freshman big man Dennis Clifford scored against both Clemson and Virginia Tech in his first two ACC home games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It was important for our confidence. We know if we keep fighting we have a good chance of winning." -- Freshman C Dennis Clifford after the win over Clemson.

--at North Carolina State, Jan. 19
The two teams set to face BC this week played each other Saturday in Winston-Salem. N.C. State limited Wake Forest to just 40 points in a 76-40 win, and the Demon Deacons needed a field goal at the buzzer to reach that mark. The Wolfpack moved to 13-5 overall and 2-1 ACC with the victory.

--vs. Wake Forest, Jan. 21
BC was picked to finish 12th in the 12-team ACC, but know this:
Wake was picked 11th and N.C. State eighth, so anything is possible in this two-game portion of the BC schedule.

FUTURES MARKET: Freshman C Dennis Clifford has been showing he belongs in the world of big-time college basketball. He needs some bulk, but has shown good touch around the goal and a nose for the ball.

The 7-footer was averaging 9.8 points and 5.3 rebounds for the season, entering the week, but 12.3 and 5.3 in his three league games at that point. During that three-game stretch, he went 13-for-24 from the floor.

-- Freshman G Patrick Heckmann continued to be somewhat of an enigma. He has shown the ability to be a star, as he was when he scored 32 points (almost half of his team's 66) in an overtime win over UC-Riverside on Nov. 25, seems to be bothered by a nagging ankle problem but tends to see his minutes disappear. He played 12 minutes in the win over Clemson and 11 in the victory over Virginia Tech. He lost his team scoring lead and was averaging 9.9 points per game through the weekend.

-- Junior G Matt Humphrey took over the BC scoring lead, but just with 10.1 points per game, through Sunday. He had 14 points and eight rebounds in the win over Virginia Tech.

-- Senior G John Cahill sustained a right shoulder injury Saturday. His arm was in a sling and he was expected to miss approximately two weeks.

-- Freshman F Ryan Anderson scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the Virginia Tech win.

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