Leslie Bounces Back
Leslie bounced back from his much publicized performance against Carolina with a quietly solid effort against Boston College. The points don't really tell the story – he finished with 10 points and hit only 40 percent of his attempts, below his season average, but it was all the little things that clicked for Leslie against the Eagles.
The junior grabbed nine rebounds, had three assists, blocked three shots and most importantly committed just two turnovers. He was more aggressive on defense, looked for teammates on offense and never tried to do too much. The Pack needs this version of Leslie – the one that uses his considerable talent to contribute in all facets of the game – as it goes down the stretch.
"Calvin, I thought he was good," Mark Gottfried said. "It was a game where some other guys were scoring the ball, and he was very unselfish. He played pretty good defense, so he did a good job."
Dominating the Glass
For the second time in three games, the Pack rebounded more than 50 percent of its own misses. That gave the Pack an 18-10 edge in second-chance points, as the Pack also got 67 percent of Boston College's misses on the evening. Howell, as you would expect, had four offensive boards but he was matched by both Leslie and Warren. Even Scott Wood chipped in with a pair of offensive boards. Gottfried pointed to rebounding as an area of weakness for this team and a point of emphasis going forward. On Wednesday night, they responded.
Back on the Break
After scoring four points in transition against North Carolina, the Pack got back to what makes it so dangerous against the Eagles – running.
The Pack scored 25 points (compared to four for BC) in transition – often answering a hard-earned Boston College half-court score with a quick bucket to steal back any momentum. It was their ability to get transition points in all kinds of situations – off steals, misses and even makes – that helped them put together their third most efficient offensive performance (1.29 points per possession) of the season and its best offensive performance in conference play.
Lingering Injury for Brown
Lorenzo Brown tweaked his ankle on Wednesday night, and with a big lead Gottfried simply chose to sit him in the final minutes. When he was in the game, he was fantastic, finishing with 11 points and six assists to go with three of the Pack's eight steals. But the junior point guard, who is the lynch pin of the Pack's offense and especially its transition offense, is still dealing with lingering ankle problems after missing two full games a few weeks back.
"He actually told me his ankle was really hurting him there," Gottfried said. "Once we got a comfortable lead and Tyler was playing well there really wasn't a need to put him back in."
A Quiet Night For Howell
Honestly, the Pack didn't really need Howell in this game and yet he still finished with 10 rebounds. But here is the problem – Howell has an outside shot at being the ACC Player of the Year and a pretty good shot at the first team. Late in the second half, with the game well in hand, the Pack could have helped out their senior leader – and a major reason this season hasn't fallen apart – by running some sets for him. Howell could have used a little stat padding to help his cause on Wednesday night.
Player of the Game
Rodney Purvis, who had his best game since the last time he played Boston College. Purvis came off the bench and was an immediate spark in transition. He gained confidence as the game went on, attacking in the half court and scoring seemingly at will. The freshman finished with 21 points in 28 minutes and hit 8-of-11 from the floor with just one turnover.
After the game, Gottfried praised Purvis for how he's handled moving out the starting line-up and how he played on Wednesday.
"It would take you a couple of days, have your feelings hurt... it's tough," Gottfried said. " I think he's come back. He's had a great attitude in practice, he's worked really hard in practice, and then all of a sudden... you play well."
Stat of the Game
Twelve, the number of points for Boston College's Ryan Anderson in 34 minutes of play. The best player on the Eagles squad, Anderson was held scoreless in the first half and finished with as many field goals (four) as turnovers and just six rebounds. The Pack big men kept him in check all game, forcing the Eagles to try to win by hoisting up 3s – a strategy that worked briefly in the first half but failed them as the game progressed.
"Here's the deal, we're 20-8. We played three games without Lorenzo, maybe we could have won a couple of those, who knows? Maybe not. We're probably not where we want to be, but we're still in a good position... we'll see. We'll save the grade for later. I'm not ready to grade us yet."