Sunday, February 10, 2013

Yet another close Conte loss

It seems like I am constantly revisiting the "moral victory" aspect of this basketball season, but what else can you do when the team keeps losing close game? Sunday night's loss to Duke was fun and pulled me in, yet even in the final moments, I had real doubts about our chance to win. Does that invalidate the previous 39 minutes of fun basketball? Does it make it any less fun to watch Odio dunk it or Hanlan intercept a pass while running in a full sprint? No. But that doesn't mean we should feel good about coming close in another loss. There are eight regular season games left. This team needs to win at least three of them. The close games are proof enough that they can. Other thoughts:

-- Odio dunk! and everything else. In a season full of empty moments and lack of progress, Odio has been one of the standouts. He's not even a space filler anymore. He's bringing legitimate energy and defense when he is on the floor. We are better with him than without. He doesn't need to shoot much. He doesn't need to handle the ball. He just needs to play smart, don't make any turnovers and be aggressive near the basket. It was a good showing. 
-- The Defensive game plan. I am not sure which assistant was responsible for tonight's prep but it was well done. Even as Duke adjusted in the second half, we countered with more ball pressure and trying to cut off Plumlee's passing lanes.
-- Hanlan's driving. I will get to the final shot below, but thank goodness Hanlan is willing and able to drive to the basket. So many of the guys are passive under the slightest pressure and we waste so much time passing around the perimeter. Hanlan might miss FGs, but good things are happening when he drives.

-- The final possessions. Rahon's clanker was terrible. It was a good look but bad, bad shot. That's on him. The Hanlan possession was as frustrating but for different reasons. I would have liked for him to shoot earlier in the shot clock. Why did Donahue have him wait so long? Anderson got the rebound (and was fouled). If Hanlan shoots earlier in the possession we might get another shot. The risk is Duke answers, but when you are down a point, that is very secondary. First get the lead! Then worry about protecting it.
-- Abandoning the 3. We were cold and were keeping it close regardless, but that doesn't excuse not attempting more. 
-- Officiating. It is cliches to argue that Duke gets all the calls, but they do. Cook knew he fouled Anderson on the last play. You could see how he reacted. But there were about ten different times that they could have whistled Cook earlier. Duke's guards were very aggressive with their hands. It is not the reason why we lost and is not new, but needs to be mentioned when it is egregious. 


mod10aeagle said...

It was a heart-breaker. They played so hard and so well, particularly on defense. And, while Rahon choked on his that late, wide open three-pointer and Hanlan missed a very makeable jumper, the fact is that Anderson very well might have scored the game winner had he not been submarined just before the buzzer. That no-call was a travesty.

WI_Eagle said...

They are who we thought they were!! We had 'em and we let 'em off the hook!!

NEDofSavinHill said...

BC b-ball looks good at home. Didn't they lose 3 close calls to Duke, NC State and Miami( All highly ranked teams).It says something about their competitiveness. Hanlon looked like the best player on the court. Progress is noted. On the last play the tactic and timing were excellent. Shoot with 5 seconds left and only leave a second or two for a put back. Odio seemed to be in position for a rebound when hit by the Dukie. A clear case of clipping. But no call.

Skinsftw3 said...

The tactics and timing on the last play were horrendous. You don't wait until there's 3 seconds left to shoot when you're down 1 and originally had 19 seconds with the ball. That's all on the coaches, unless Hanlon ignored a different gameplan in the huddle and improvised.

mod10aeagle said...

Hanlan drove, recognized the wall of defenders in front of him, and wisely pulled up to take an 8-foot jumper, which he missed. There was enough time on the clock for a rebound and put-back. Anderson got the rebound but was taken down by a submarining Duke player. Time expired after Anderson hit the floor. I don't see how Donahue can be blamed for any of that. Hanlan got an open look on a fairly high-percentage shot, and BC got the rebound with enough time to put it back up. Hanlan missed the shot and the refs missed the call.

ModA36 said...

They ran a play that didn't work because Duke did a very good job on defense, so Hanlan was left to go on his own. The design was not for him to play one on one, but after the play broke down, that was what was left.

WI_Eagle said...

I am not at all upset about the final play...O got a good look and it didn't fall. What is much more upsetting is blowing a 5-point lead with 2 minutes to go. Defensive breakdown on Cook's 3, allowing an offensive rebound on the next possession, Odio's silly foul after Joe's missed 3...we should have been able to win without scoring a single point in that last two minutes if we just played defense and rebounded.

mod10aeagle said...

ATL -- I'm not following you on this comment: "If Hanlan shoots earlier in the possession we might get another shot."

Duke ended up with possession of the ball after the non-call on the take-down of Anderson. So, you're assuming the refs would've made a call with ten seconds on the clock that they wouldn't make with 2 seconds on the clock? Otherwise, there's still no way BC gets another shot, right?

EL MIZ said...

absolutely brutal loss. the Rahon miss off the backboard plus O missing everything...can we still use the freshman excuse? so disappointing.

we lost to NC state 78-73, Miami 60-59 (on bogus offensive foul on Rahon with like 10 seconds left), and 62-61 (could argue foul should've been called, but the fact is we had our chances and didn't convert). when is this team going to catch a break?

going 4-4 down the stretch is realistic -- we've already beaten clemson, we lost tough games on the road to Wake and Maryland, neither of whom are that good this year, GA Tech at home should be a W. if nothing else, i really want to see this team make strides with playing 40 minute games w/o lapses on D and execution down the stretch. at least we were hitting the FTs (hanlan went 11-12) last game.

LIKES: odio finally emerging as a player good enough to be in the rotation; Heckmann only playing 7 minutes.

DISLIKES: clifford not being on the floor for the last play. only down 1, the play design was a PnR with Anderson, why not have Clifford in instead of Rahon for the chance at an offensive putback? especially after Rahon had so badly botched that 3, i see no value in having him in there.

ObserverCollege said...

The referees did a terrific job throughout the game last night. You people have to step outside your own little fantasy worlds and recognize what is preferable for the ACC as a whole. The best result clearly is for Duke to pull out that game, and the referees made sure it happened. That's what a good officiating crew does.

The fact is, Boston College was selfish throughout this business. With the forecasted blizzard, they should have arranged to switch the game to Cameron Indoor Stadium. BC could then have flown down on Thursday, Duke would have been well-rested, and the result would have been the appropriate 30+ point Duke blowout of BC.

Instead, your new AD tried to show his "fortitude" and insisted on having the game as scheduled last night IN BOSTON. Even though Duke wound up having to travel the DAY OF THE GAME! That travel advantage was worth about 30 points, thus the game is "close" last night.

With all that, of course the refs stepped in and ensured Duke would win. Of course they swallowed the whistle when Ryan Anderson was submarined. The refs know that on a neutral court like Cameron, Duke would blow the doors off BC. Yet Duke is going to have its NCAA seeding hurt by losing at BC in these circumstances? How is that fair to the conference???

The only chance BC has to gain NCAA dollars is for Duke to do well. BC can't help since they're not going to any NCAA tournament. You all should think about that the next time you lament the close losses and the "officiating". Things could be worse. You could win.

JBQ said...

@ObserverCollege: I happen to agree but with a football twist. Those two championship games against VT with Jags were filled with the same. BC has to do something about their fan base. They look good on tv but no self respecting bowl wants them because the fans don't travel and spend money. If ND could go to a bowl at 2-10, one of the better bowls would snap them up. Remember in '56 when Paul Hornung won the Heisman at 2-8. Luke K was a viable candidate as was Matt Ryan and both were snubbed.

@timstwrt said...

1) The last play was almost exactly what you want in that situation.
2) Donahue still screwed up.

Everything about that play was right. The ball needed to be in Hanlon's hands and he got a good look. But he needs to get going at around 8 seconds, so that if he misses there's a chance for a putback or a foul and one more shot. That's the only thing that Donahue needs to say during that timeout, and he apparently didn't.

Bardo made a comment at some point that was something like, "the ACC knows that they need to get their licks in on BC now, because this is going to be a very good team next year." This was the first game where I really thought that that might be true. These guys are getting better, individually and as a team. However, Donahue still seems completely overmatched as an in-game coach.

Mr. Tambourine MAn said...

Did you watch the reply @timstwirt? Anderson was in absolutely perfect position for a rebound against a much smaller guy, and Cook (1) blatantly pushed Rahon out of the way; and (2) submarined Anderson taking him to the floor when otherwise he would have been in perfect position for the putback with plenty of time. So, where exactly did Donahue screw up there? Not exactly clear. ATL's commentary doesn't make any sense either on this one, "get a shot early enough in the shot clock to get a shot a second chance basket". We do that, and yet Donahue screwed up because...well, that's not really clear since he did exactly what you both wanted.

Post Spaziani Stress Disorder is a serious condition that can compromise your ability to rationally analyze the performance of the sporting event that you are watching. In many cases, PSSD may result in cognitive dissonance and hallucinations that permit you to criticize head coaching actions that are not actually occuring because of your overwhelming desire to attack the action of any head coach. If think every coach in every game you watch has a big bushy mustache and is incapable of managing the game clock at the end of a half and/or his timeouts regardless of any evidence to the contrary, you may be suffering from PSSD. If you suspect that your friend, family member, or favorite Boston College blogger are suffering from PSSD, please encourage them to seek help immediately.

@timstwrt said...

I don't think you know what you're talking about. It was a one point game. You go earlier so that in the absolute worst case scenario (miss, Duke rebound, foul) you'll have one more shot down three. The way that it actually happened, you've removed one path to victory and gained no advantage.

Mr. Tambourine MAn said...

You are right @timstwrt, how did I miss what really happened. Last night, Donahue developed and employed a novel basketball strategy called "holding for the last shot." I realize it may have surprised and confused you when it occurred, but I have the sneaking suspicion that it might catch on in certain basketball circles. It'll be scary and treacherous for some arm chair coaches if it catches on, but if we all stick together we'll make it through.

@timstwrt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
@timstwrt said...

Thanks for confirming the suspicion that you don't what you're talking about.

EL MIZ said...

here's a link to the last play of the game:

from the video tape, its clear we have Anderson set a high screen, and off the ball Jackson runs through a screen. duke defends it, and Hanlan keeps his dribble and re-assesses.

Anderson has a mismatch downlow, but Plumlee is lurking in the paint. O decides to take his man off the dribble (with over 6 seconds on the clock), takes a wide open shot with 3 seconds, and anderson gets the o-board but is tackled by a Dukie. game over.

@timstwrt -- what are you implying? we ran a play that would've afforded for what you asked, getting a quick shot and then having the chance to foul if we miss (or defend duke). duke defended it well.

at that point, the smartest play for Hanlan is to assess the defense, attack once the lane is clear, with enough time for an offensive rebound. he did those things. unfortunately, A) he missed the shot, and B) we got a rebound, but our player was on the ground.

you can see Cook #2 guarding Rahon, he blatantly shoves Rahon out of bounds and in the process hits Anderson. he commits 2 fouls, neither of which are called.

for all those who say "a foul can't save you in those situations" were they watching the Miami game, where a ticky tack offensive foul was called on Rahon, a foul which almost certainly gets a "flopping" warning if it were in the NBA.

GP11 said...

Agree 100% with El Miz. They did start to run a play, saw it wasn't there and backed off. The fact that Donahue didn't call a time out (or signal a new play from the bench) signifies to me that they had both plays set up during the previous time-out. Plan A didn't work so they wen't to Plan B.

@timstwrt said...

I think everyone agrees that a foul should've been called.

Your assessment of the play could very well be correct. I see the high screen there as an attempt to force a defensive switch for Hanlon to get a step and drive. Watching it live, I didn't think it would ever leave his hands (unless Duke somehow got crossed up on the switch and Anderson was wide open on his roll), and I see it the same way on replay. But I could be wrong.

WestCoaster said...

Wow it's hard to watch that. he fould on Anderson really was blatant. But that seven footer missing the rim? I so want to buy into the "next year these shots will drop" theory but those two late-game misses make it really hard ot believe. It's like they just panicked, "oh wow I am actually wide open and could make a shot to beat Duke...holy sh&%$t! {followed by spazzed-out out shot attempt]" Those "ice" moments are what thse guys have supposedly been groomed for their entire lives and to butcher it like that...very disconcerting. But hey, onward and upward. Hanlon made some key free throws towards the end of the game, wich he could not do two weeks ago. Touch of progress. So maybe they have to go through these moments, one at a time, in grueling fan-heart-breaking fashion, until they are ready to execute on this satge.

Uka Agbai said...

I agree with your take on evertything, except the part that mentions the poor officiating.

"It is not the reason why we lost"

Its a one point loss. Anderson was clearly fouled. If the whistle is blown (as it should have been), Anderson goes to the line to tie/win. Not to mention the countless blown charge/blocking calls. And when Suliamon stepped out of bounds right in front of the ref and they let him play on. Any one of those calls changes the outcome of the game.

However, thank you for mentioning the officiating, as it deserved attention. I think the main thing to look at is, if the referees do their job correctly last night, BC wins the game.