Donahue Still Searching For Right Lineup

By Nick Volpe

“I don’t think anybody’s a bench player, or anybody’s a starter,” head coach Steve Donahue said following Boston College’s 75-61 loss to Boston University on Saturday afternoon. “That’s what you’re seeing. I think we’re pretty consistent with all of our guys. And that’s sometimes a good thing, sometimes a bad thing. You like to see somebody separate themselves.”

The lack of a core group of starters certainly showed as the Eagles took on their cross-town rival Terriers. Freshman guard Lonnie Jackson led BC in scoring, putting up 11 points. Freshman Dennis Clifford and Ryan Anderson each contributed nine points off the bench. The Eagles’ bench outscored BU 29-13.

The scoring effort for BC may have been evenly distributed, but it paled in comparison to the performance of the Terriers’ starting squad. Senior guard Darryl Partin scored 27 points in the game. Sophomores D.J. Irving and Dom Morris scored 17 and 11 points, respectively. Irving also contributed seven assists to the Terriers’ winning effort.

At the end of the first half the Eagles and Terriers were neck-and-neck with 31 points apiece. The game remained close until BU began a 14-5 run with 10:52 remaining in the second half. Partin put up 15 points in the final eight and a half minutes of the game to help secure the victory for the Terriers. BU had a total of 15 fast-break points in the second half, while the Eagles had zero.

One of the biggest factors in the loss was BC’s inability to get second chance attempts. The Terriers grabbed 15 offensive rebounds, while the Eagles only had six. There were multiple occasions where the Terriers had two offensive rebounds on the same possession. The lack of offensive rebounds hurt the Eagles. They had only seven second chance points compared to the Terriers’ 16.

It was not all negative for the Eagles, however. The first half of play may have been the most complete basketball that Donahue’s squad has demonstrated. BC continued this run into the second half and played roughly 30 minutes of solid basketball in the game.

“I saw progress,” Donahue said. “But it’s not 40 minutes.”

The Eagles emerge from this game with a lot to build off of. They may not have played well for the full game, but a clear improvement was made overall.  At this point, it’s still about giving everyone an opportunity and determining roles for the players.

“Guys who I think are gonna be really good players aren’t starting right now,” Donahue said. “But I think if you have a little vision, and see into the future just a tad bit, you’d think that come 50 games and 25 pounds of muscle, and just a determined attitude, you’re gonna see kids that are really good players. But right now they’re trying to draw for straws and trying to figure things out.”

The Eagles hope a cohesive starting unit will emerge soon. Donahue’s Disciples have a lot to look forward to as the young team continues to develop.

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