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BC over Maine 72-58- Eagles shoot 51% from the floor.

The game started with a surprise when BC started freshman Akida McLain in the place of Craig Smith, who was ill at the end of the week at wasn’t on the sideline.  It is rare that a college team shoots over 50% for the game and loses. Presuming it is a minor illness and Craig is back in force soon, this game may have been a blessing in disguise for the team.  Getting the younger players minutes in a close game has real value, and the final score doesn’t show you how close the game was:  2 point lead @ 5 minutes, 3 @ 4 minutes, 6 @ 3 minutes, 8 @ 2 minutes.   Maine started the game shooting very well, and BC was settling for outside jump shots, but BC adjusted after a few minutes and looked to pound it inside and take use of the Eagle height advantage.

Coach Skinner mentioned that he likes to use a set rotation and planned distribution of minutes at the Cage Club exhibition after the Carleton game, so clearly the freshmen as a group picked up minutes they wouldn’t normally have with Craig Smith healthy. 

Things you can’t see in the box score:  Defense

BC started out the game in a match up zone.   Maine started red hot and was throwing in 3’s all around the arc.  But the same thing happened with Carleton, so it may be a matter of defense and communication rather than hot shooting.  Against a small team like Maine, the zone put players in match ups that they wouldn’t typically see in conference, such as both Nate and Jared Dudley getting matched up against a point guard trying to extend and protect the arc.  BC tried switching to man to man a few times, but had trouble with back door cuts and switched back to zone. 

How about this line? 4 blocks, 3 assists, 7 rebounds, 7 points in 28 minutes.  Sean “Wingspan” Williams made the biggest splash of the freshmen, but BC had quality contributions from McLain, Watt and Williams.  Williams made a nice high post to low post bounce pass feed, and shot 3-4 from the floor.  But the thing that impressed was his shot blocking ability and aggressiveness.  Wingspan will draw some fouls this year leaving his feet to contest shots, but BC hasn’t had a defensive player like him in all the years I’ve watched the squad closely since 1988.  Sean went after shots, altered shots and didn’t ignore rebounding while contesting shots.  One important detail- he often went after midrange pull up jumpers trying to block with his left hand.  He himself shoots right, and most players shoot with their right- typically you’ll see players try to block or contest with their “good hand”.  He contested shots with his “off hand”, which feels less natural, but it is the hand that is closer to hitting the ball when defending right handed shooters. 

Akida McLain started and put up 6 points in 10 minutes, scoring the teams first 4 points one bucket on a rebound, one on a post inlet pass from Hinnant.  He got off to a good start, but Williams seems more likely to be the long term back up for Nate and Craig.  Nate had only 2 points to go with 5 fouls, if that continues, Williams may take a higher % of Nate’s mintues over time.

Gordon Watt was 2-3 on the day, one a 3 pointer and one a 2 with his toe on the line.  He wanted the ball and hit a big jump shot with the game very much in doubt.  The amount Watt will play over time will probably be driven by how long Jermaine Watson’s team imposed suspension lasts and how well he can take advantage of this opportunity to play now.  All in all after only one game, Watt seemed the most complete player of the 3, and Williams seemed to have the most athletic ability and potential to impact the team over the long haul this season.

Things you can’t see in the box score:  Offense

Probably the single biggest positive was the change to the motion offense.  If you’ve followed BC over the last few years, the motion offense often had the center at the top of the key once the set began.  Nate is a solid passer, but is hard to rebound with your tallest players that from the basket.  BC ran a different set with Nate, McLain or Williams at the top elbow, and ran diagonal cuts from the wing and backside. 

Early in the game, BC was settling for too many outside shots, which combined with hot shooting by Maine but them behind early.  But the Eagles adjusted and pounded it inside to eventually take control with their height advantage.

Tough to tell if this was a typical offensive set for BC, with both Craig Smith, your primary offensive player, and Watson, your best slasher – off the court.  BC had some nice outside shooting at times, but might not have a consistent 3 point threat. UNH should tell more about the offensive changes.
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-Side note, could they come up with anything worse than "Big East West division"? Isn't that inane? How about North and South? You could still ignore geography and not have "Big East West"..pardon the rant.