Mission ACComplished

A lot of pride and hope for the rest of the season hung in the balance when Boston College stepped into the Dunkin' Donuts Center to play Providence College for the first time as a member of the ACC. The Friars answered the call to battle with an impressive 73-64 win over the #23 ranked Eagles on the night before Thanksgiving.

Neither team wanted to lose another game coming off a bad loss. Neither team wanted to lose to a former conference comrade. Something had to give, and like an old Big East war in the paint, the Friars and Eagles battled in a physical and intense contest more akin to February than late fall. Sean Williams, the shot-blocking savant that has haunted the Friars in the past was back from team suspension, and there was every reason to think he could be the winning edge in this one. He did his part for the Eagles with an eye popping 12 blocked shots, a BC record. Tyrese Rice and Jared Dudley also scored 19 and 17 points respectively, but it wouldn't be enough to win this rivalry game renewed.

There is no doubt that Providence College came to play in this one, and displayed a combination of effort and execution for a full 40 minutes, something which had not been seen yet this season. Boston College was physical, but the Friars out rebounded them by 11. BC tried defensive intimidation with Sean Marshall's 12 blocks, but Geoff McDermott and Weyinme Efejuku stuck to the gameplan of attacking the basket at every opportunity.

The Eagles tried to disrupt the Providence offense with pressure, but it was the Friars who won the defensive battle by taking 10 more shots and forcing 17 turnovers on BC. Finally, Boston College played a zone defense against Providence, picking up where Brown left off in an attempt to disrupt the Friar offense. Once again, Providence answered the call with smart ball movement, relentless drives to the basket, and excellent interior passing.

"We worked on executing against a zone defense almost exclusively over the last few days. The team bounced back and really battled tonight. The guys were very attentive to the gameplan, and they executed the gameplan to a T… Now we need to build on this and keep getting better."
Tim Welsh

There may have been a Hall and Oates sighting on the court, but the five-some of Sharaud Curry, Weyinme Efejuku, Geoff McDermott, Jon Kale, and Herb Hill were particularly fearless against a hungry Boston College team. Ray Hall and the other freshmen chipped as best they could, but getting your first action in a primetime game at the Dunk can make for some game jitters. Charlie Burch, missing most of the game while nursing a bad back, cheered on his teammates as they pulled away from the Eagles in the last 6 minutes.

Friar Notes:
The Friars displayed a matchup zone extensively for the first time this year. Keeping BC under 65 points in scoring is something that indicated some defensive improvement given how last year the team gave up 74 points a game on average last year.

Providence shot a solid and judicious 4-10 from the 3pt. line against Boston College, something that was a concern coming into the game. Weyinme Efejuku's performance against BC may have been his most complete effort to date. He scored 17, was active on defense, penetrated at will, made two 3pt. shots, and only committed 1 turnover in 33 minutes of play.

Jon Kale stepped up and performed under pressure handling interior passes in traffic and grabbing boards all to the tune of 11 points and 6 rebounds against a formidable defensive frontcourt. Geoff McDermott's line of 18 points, 16 rebounds, and 5 assists may put him in contention of Conference honors this week.

The win for PC was the first over a ranked opponent in their last 16 tries. BC came into the game ranked #23 in the latest AP poll, but will likely drop from the rankings after two straight losses.

The announced crowd of 10,336 was a boost for the Friars given that most Providence home games prior to Big East schedule rarely exceed 10K. The Friars are back in action on Sunday, November 26th for another challenging home game against George Washington at 7:30pm.

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