Friars Doomed By Flat Start Against BC

Providence College dropped to 4-2 on the season with a disappointing 82-75 loss to Boston College, before an energized crowd of 10,782. Despite playing poorly, the Friars had a chance to steal this game but executed poorly once again down the stretch.

The Friars suffered from a number of problems in this game and the first problem manifested itself immediately. Providence simply came out flat and picked a game against a talented opponent to do that. Team leaders Marshon Brooks and Jamine Peterson looked and played disinterested and flat, along with the rest of the team, while the Eagles came out flying.

Problem number two was an inability to stop Boston College inside. While the Friars did a fine job denying the perimeter – BC shot 0-7 from three in the first half and 0-10 for the game – the Eagles torched PC inside. Boston College ran one play repeatedly against PC… get the ball to the baseline to Corey Raji or Reggie Jackson, and either Raji or Jackson would drive the baseline for lay-ups or dish to Josh Southern or Joe Trapani in front of the rim for lay-ups or dunks.

Problem number three was the ineffectiveness of the Friars press in the first half. PC played a soft full court press and Boston College repeatedly drove through the press, sometimes off made baskets, for lay-ups and dunks. The Friars slapped a more aggressive press on in the second half, double-teaming the ball on traps, and that slowed BC down, but only created three second half turnovers.

Problem number four was one of rebounding. The Eagles crushed Providence on the glass in the first half, 28-16, and that contributed to 38 points in the paint in the half (out of 42 points) and 64 points in the paint for the game (out of 82). BC's size and athleticism was simply too much for Providence to handle, and really exposed the Friars as a small team.

The Friars dug themselves a huge hole in the first half with flat play and poor shooting as the veteran Eagles sliced through both man and zone and pressure to build a 39-21 lead with 3:25 to play. Over the next two minutes, Providence awoke and answered with a 10-0 run that was sparked by two three pointers by Vincent Council. However, Peterson missed two shots in the final minute and BC went to the locker room with a 42-31 lead. "BC deserves a lot of credit for playing physical and taking it to us in the first half," said Keno Davis. "They're very good in their half court sets, very physical and they execute well."

When PC missed their first two shots of the second half and Jackson buried a short jumper, fans braced for more of the same. BC's second half lead topped off at 49-35 before Providence started to fight back. Al Skinner typically plays a short rotation, and without Rakim Sanders, the Eagles' five starters each played over thirty minutes, and BC began to show a little weariness.

Over the next five minutes, PC outscored the Eagles 16-7, to trim the lead to 56-51, behind two baskets by Greedy Peterson, a three point play by Council and a three and jumper by Marshon Brooks. BC pushed the lead back to ten, but a three by Brooks, a lay-up by Sharaud Curry, a three by Council and a lay-up by Bilal Dixon cut the lead to 64-63 with seven minutes left.

Two straight drives by Brooks kept PC close, and after Duke Mondy stripped Courtney Dunn, Curry drilled a three to give PC its first lead at 73-72. Trapani answered with a lay-up but Peterson gave PC the lead the again, and the Friars had the chance to extend the lead when Peterson rebounded a Southern miss. However, Council made a poor decision and threw an ill-advised lob to Peterson, who missed and fouled Jackson on the rebound. Jackson tied the game with one free throw, but a layup by Dixon with 1:44 to go gave PC a 77-75 lead. Those would be the Friars' last points.

Dixon fouled Raji, who promptly missed two free throws, but rebounded his own miss and fed Jackson for a three that was off the mark. Southern muscled for the rebound and was fouled by Dixon while sinking a lay-up to tie the game. With that, Dixon fouled out and Southern converted the free throw for a one point lead. Then, Curry made a poor decision in driving the lane into four players and was stripped of the ball, leading to two free throws by Biko Paris with :24 left, putting the Friars down 80-77. PC played for a final three, but Boston College denied Brooks, and Curry was forced to fire a prayer with two seconds left and the Eagles had escaped.

Which leads us to problem number five – an inability to make good decisions down the stretch. Had the Friars won, they would stolen a game in which they did not play well. But the game was there to be stolen, until a series of poor decisions cost them. Admittedly a young and inexperienced team, Providence simply is not ready to close out games, either offensively or defensively. "We've got to make sure we execute down the stretch," said Davis. "We don't have a lot of room for error this year."

For PC, the Friars spent the game trading twenty footers for lay-ups with BC, and came out on the short end. Providence struggled to score and relied heavily on the outside shot, while BC carved PC up inside. Providence never made the adjustment to pack it in more tightly and force the Eagles to beat them by making outside shots, and with tired legs, its doubtful that BC could have accomplished that task. "Their focus was to pound it inside and we didn't adjust well to compact it more inside," said Davis. "I used a couple of time-outs in the first half so the game wouldn't get away from us, and I would have liked to have had them in the second half so I could have adjusted the defense to compact it in more."

For the game, BC was led by Jackson, with 20 points, 7 assists and 12 rebounds, Trapani with 19 points and 8 rebounds, Raji with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Southern with 11 points. The Eagles outrebounded PC 46-36, committed just ten turnovers and shot 51% for the game. For the Friars, Curry scored 20 points on 8-17 shooting, including 3-7 threes and had 8 assists; Brooks played well in the second half and had 16 points on 5-13 shooting, Peterson had 15 points and 11 rebounds but shot just 7-19 and played well only in stretches, Dixon had 10 points and 9 rebounds and Council finished with 12 points. PC made 10-24 threes but once again struggled to get to the free throw line, making just 7-13. You won't get to the line relying on twenty footers.

Which brings us back to the basic question: How does a team get up for Vermont and come out so flat for Boston College? At home. And now PC has to go on the road for two tough games, against Northeastern and Rhode Island.

Scout Friars Top Stories