Making Free Throws Late
The Pack finished the night shooting 71 percent from the charity stripe, hitting 25-of-35, but the final tally doesn't tell the whole story.
The Pack was dreadful from the line in the first half, hitting just 4-of-11 and missing the front end of three one-and-ones. Considering that you can only take three one-and-one free throws in a half, the Pack managed to pull off a rare feat of ineptness.
But they bounced back strong in the second half, hitting 21-of-24 from the line. And it wasn't just Scott Wood, who closed the game with six straight from the charity stripe. Richard Howell and Lorenzo Brown also delivered late from the line, helping the Pack overcome an uninspiring road performance and escape with a win.
Scott Wood's Final Minutes
For the first 36 minutes of the game, Scott Wood was essentially a no-show. He had managed to pick up four fouls, his fourth at the 14-minute mark of the second half, but hadn't scored a point yet. That all changed when he hit a go-ahead 3 with 3:46 left in the game. Then, when the Pack needed a good shot out of timeout, Gottfried called Wood's number again and he delivered with 3-pointer that put the Pack up two possessions with 50 seconds left. Wood finished the night by hitting six consecutive free-throws to ice the game.
"I've got a lot of confidence in him." Gottfried said. "We put him back in and called the play for him. I don't have any doubt in my mind that's he's going to make it. That's the way he shoots it. He made a great shot after the timeout."
Six players scored in double-figures for the Pack, and five of those six were within four points of each other as all but Rodney Purvis scored between 10 and 14 points on the night. That kind of balance makes the Pack impossible to guard – you can't focus on one or two or even three guys. Offensively, there is no weak link on the team and it will make the Pack a nightmare for even good defensive teams during league play.
The officials did their best to make this game impossible for either fan base to enjoy. It wasn' t that the officiating was biased or lopsided, though certainly Packs might argue the last minute of the game tended to go the way of Boston College.
The problem was just the overall flow of the game. There were 44 fouls called and 75 free throws attempted by the two teams. The result was a two-and-a-half hour game where neither team could get into a good offensive rhythm. Unless teams start trading punches, no game should contain 75 free throws.
Failing to Capitalize
The Pack had a chance, early in the second half, to make this game a lot less nerve-wracking for itself and its fan base. The Pack went on a 7-0 run to make it 37-30. The Eagles were forced to burn a timeout, but Donahue set up a nice play and the Pack left Joe Rahon alone for a 3. That shot would spark a 15-4 run that kept the Pack down most of the half.
"We didn't play particularly well but we executed down the stretch, I thought, at some key times on both ends of the floor and overcame a lot of our own mistakes," Gottfried said.
Player of the Game
Rodney Purvis. The freshman answered a couple of big Boston College 3-pointers with daggers of his own to silence the home crowd, helping keep the Pack within striking distance late in the game. The Eagles chose to play off Purvis, a decision that makes sense if your deciding who to guard between the six players in the Pack's main rotation. But Purvis made them pay all afternoon long, finishing with 19 points and three 3-point baskets.
Stat of the Game
15, the total combined turnovers in the game. The Pack has done a good job of hanging onto the ball this season, but its done a terrible job of forcing turnovers as well. By percentage of total plays, the Pack now ranks 306th in the nation as far as forcing turnovers and 17th in the nation when it comes to giving them up.
"We were our own worst enemy today and I'm not taking anything away from them but we fouled a 3-point shooter, we missed the front ends of 1-and-1s, we had defensive lapses. It's a laundry list of things where we felt like we just hurt ourselves."