CORAL GABLES, Fla. — An emotional week for the Boston College men’s basketball team sputtered to an end Saturday afternoon as the Eagles fell to Miami, 69-42.
BC shot just 32.6 percent from the field in its lowest offensive output all season, and after a tight first half the Eagles (7-20, 3-11 Atlantic Coast Conference) succumbed to the Hurricanes’ slow tempo and continual defensive changes.
“They really mixed up a lot of their defensive stuff, which is tough to read sometimes and it slows you down a lot,” forward Ryan Anderson said. “Their coach did a good job of setting them up with different schemes.”
The Eagles’ week started with a home loss to Notre Dame, followed by the funeral of longtime BC sports information director Dick Kelley, who passed away at the age of 48 after a battle with ALS. On Wednesday, BC earned just its second road win of the season, handing top-ranked Syracuse its first loss in overtime.
Though the Eagles hesitated to blame their struggles Saturday on the aftereffects of a huge win, they did notice their energy level dwindling as the game wore on.
“Usually, if there’s some sort of layover from the last game it’s [at] the start of the game,” Anderson said. “But I think guys came out hard at the beginning; we just weren’t able to sustain it for the whole game.”
BC’s shooting was out of sorts from the start.
“The guys didn’t come in ready to shoot with confidence,” guard Olivier Hanlan said. “Normally, we hit those types of shots. It’s not like we were taking difficult shots. They were wide-open shots that were going everywhere.”
Miami (14-13, 5-9) held a 27-22 lead at the half despite being held to 35.7 percent shooting from the field. But in the second half, BC started to unravel on defense. That, combined with the Eagles’ inability to make shots, allowed Miami to open up its advantage.
Hanlan said the Eagles came out of halftime believing they’d snap out of their shooting woes, but they ended up playing flat on both ends of the court.
“I think even if we weren’t hitting shots, people were really grinding it out and getting stops and kept it close,” Hanlan said. “And then after that second half, we just came out with no energy at all and we weren’t getting as many stops as the first half and that got back to us, and we weren’t hitting shots.”
The Eagles trailed, 44-36, with about 10 minutes left before a quick 9-0 run by the Hurricanes doubled BC’s deficit.
“I think we just got away from some of the fundamental stuff that we like to do on offense,” Anderson said. “That really hurt us on the defensive side too, because once you get down you have to start trapping and pick up the tempo, which isn’t really what we like to do, and that kind of opened up layups for them.
“It went from a 10-point game to a 20-point game really quickly, so I think if we just focus on getting better offensive possessions we’ll be all right.”
The Hurricanes kept BC at distance for the remainder of the game and closed on a 16-2 run.
Patrick Heckmann led the Eagles with 15 points. Hanlan contributed 11 points and six rebounds, and Anderson added 8 points and six rebounds.
Rion Brown had 22 points for the Hurricanes and Erik Swoope had 14 points and nine rebounds.
BC returns to Conte Forum to face Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Hanlan described the Eagles as “tired and a little beat up” and welcoming the trip home.
“We haven’t been home in a while,” he said. “But Pitt’s a good team too and it’ll be nice to have our fans there and hopefully we’ll get a win.”