Inside the Numbers: UVA escapes rugged Boston College in ACC opener
The Eagles (10-4, 1-1 ACC) already had a win over then-#1 Duke three weeks ago, on the strength of stellar guard play, getting 30 points from Ky Bowman, 24 from Jerome Robinson and 22 from Jordan Chatman, who were a combined 13-of-23 from three-point range.
BC shot 50.8 percent from the field and 57.7 percent from three-point range in the 89-84 win, after which the only question you would have had being, was that the result of Boston College being that good, or more Duke maybe not being as good as we’d thought, particularly on the defensive end?
The BC that lost by one at JPJ didn’t shoot the lights out, to say the least, hitting on 42.3 percent from the field, 31.8 percent from three, and scoring .921 points per possession, well off what it had done in the Duke win – the Eagles scored 1.171 points per possession that afternoon.
Efficiency aside, it was backcourt play that was key again for Boston College. Bowman struggled all game long, and finished with just five points on 2-of-10 shooting, but Robinson (29 points on 12-of-22 shooting) and Chatman (18 points on 5-of-7 shooting) were solid.
A limitation for this group will be the short bench – the starters logged all but 14 minutes of game time on Saturday, with Bowman, Robinson and Chatman each going all 40.
Virginia, on its side, didn’t get much in terms of productivity from its ostensibly much deeper bench. Reserves DeAndre Hunter, Mamadi Diakite and Nigel Johnson logged a combined 36 minutes, and combined for two points on 1-of-11 shooting, with atrocious plus-minus statlines – Johnson at -15, Diakite at -11 and Hunter at -7.
The three combined for just 12 minutes of floor time in the second half, as coach Tony Bennett decided to match up his starters against the BC starters pretty much out of necessity.
It’s a formula that can work for Boston College coach Jim Christian for now, because he has a good starting five, anchored by his three-headed backcourt monster, but you do have to wonder how it will work out in the long term.
It’s hard to imagine getting into the second half of February and then March with a six-man rotation and having any legs left.
But, hey, a six-man rotation shouldn’t work against UVA, with its Pack-Line D and mover-blocker offense draining even deep teams.
Bottom line: on any given night this ACC season, watch out for Boston College.
Story by Chris Graham