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    Gary Hahn's Scouting Report: Boston College
     
     

    NC STATE (15-8, 4-5) @ BOSTON COLLEGE (12-10, 3-6)

     

    DATE: Thursday, February 14, 2008 @ Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, MA. (8,606)

     

    TIME: Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. EST

     

    RADIO: Wolfpack Sports Network

     

    AIRTIME: 6:30 p.m. EST

     

    TELEVISION:  ESPN or espn2

     

    OPPONENT-- Boston College didn’t give Duke much breathing room at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday, but failed to suffocate the Blue Devils. Kyle Singler helped Duke shake off an uninspired first half performance to win 90-80 and send BC to its sixth straight loss.

    The victory was the eleventh straight for Duke (21-1, 9-0), but it didn’t come easy. The Blue Devils couldn’t pull away until midway through the second half when Singler started and ended a decisive run with 3-pointers from the left corner.

    His first bomb put Duke ahead to stay 66-65 with 9:11 to play. Less than 3 minutes later, the rookie forward connected again to push Duke’s margin to 13. Singler finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Blue Devils who are enjoying their longest conference winning streak since the 2005-06 team, led by J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams, started the ACC schedule 14-0.

    The loss spoiled a tremendous performance by BC’s Tyrese Rice who recorded 28 points, 7 assists and 2 steals. Shamari Spears (10 points) and Biko Paris (11 points) were the Eagles only other double-figure scorers. DeMarcus Nelson added 23 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists for Duke.

    Defense and rebounding were key factors for the Blue Devils. They scored 21 points off 21BC turnovers and outscored the Eagles 20-8 in second chance points thanks to a 19-9 edge on the offensive glass.

    Those same areasdefense and reboundinghave been problems for BC. Against league opponents, the Eagles are allowing 79 points a game and they’re in the bottom third of the conference in rebounding margin (-3.4). So far, ACC foes have outrebounded BC on the offensive boards 146-96.

    The Eagles are the ACC’s top shot blocking team and Tyrelle Blair leads the league (4.1 vs. ACC). However, BC sends league opponents to the foul line 19 times a game and forces an average of only 10 turnovers. 

    Sloppy ball handling has also hurt. ACC foes are averaging 8 steals a game against BC and the Eagles are last in turnover margin in league games (-4.78).

    For the first time since entering the ACC, Boston College does not have a veteran core of players. Youth and inexperience usually equals losing and that is the biggest issue BC is trying to overcome. Of the 13 players on the Eagles roster, 10 are either freshmen or sophomores.

     

    The three upperclassmen, Rice and seniors Blair and John Oates have accounted for 40 percent of the team’s points with Rice leading the way at 26 percent. Rice, a junior who earned first team All-ACC honors last season, is one of the top players in the conference and may be the most physically fit.

     

    In conference games, Rice leads the ACC in minutes played (39.0). He is No.2 in scoring (21.1), fourth in assists (5.56), ninth in assist to turnover ratio (1.67) and tenth in free throw percentage (.811) against league teams. Rice has scored 20 or more points 12 times this season including 32 points versus Wake Forest on January 12th.

     

    BC’s offensive production falls off dramatically after Rice, but the Eagles still manage to average 75.3 points a game against ACC competition.

     

    A tight “Flex” half court offense that keeps the ball near the lane area usually produces high percentage shots. In conference games, BC is shooting nearly 47 percent from the field. Plus, the Eagles get to the foul line nearly 23 times a game and shoot 70 percent from the stripe.

     

    Rice accounts for about 36 percent of BC’s three-point shots in league play, but Sanders (.375), Oates (.727) and Tyler Roche (.400) can also burn opponents from the bonusphere and keep defenses honest.

    Oates has made 16-of-22 shots from beyond the arc in ACC games.

     

    The freshman class has been more productive lately with the emergence of Paris and Josh Southern.

    In the team’s last four outings, Southern, Paris, Rakim Sanders and Corey Raji have combined for nearly 30 points and 13 rebounds an outing.  Paris has averaged 4.8 assists over that same period.

     

    Sanders is fifth among ACC freshmen in scoring and he’s the youngest player on the BC team (18 years, 7 months). The impressive rookie has topped the 20 point mark five times this season, including a 20 point effort against Miami in January.

     

    NC State has lost the last two meetings in the series with Boston College and four of the last five. The Pack’s lone win during that stretch was an 87-78 decision at Conte Forum in January, 2006.

     

    PROBABLE BOSTON COLLEGE STARTERS

     

    No.  Name               Pos.  Ht.   Class PPG   RPG   APG

    04    Tyrese Rice       G     6'1   Jr.   19.9  3.5   5.1

    15    Rakim Sanders     G     6’5   Fr.   12.1 4.3   1.8

    44    Tyrelle Blair     C     6’11  Sr.   5.7   5.1   3.8*

    32    John Oates        F     6'10  Sr.   4.6   3.5   1.0*

    21    Tyler Roche       F     6’7   So.   4.5   2.0   1.9

     

    TOP RESERVES:

    11    Corey Raji        F     6'5   Fr.   8.5   4.0   --

    05    Biko Paris        G     6’1   Fr.   6.0   1.9   2.8

    34    Shamari Spears    F     6'6   So.   10.6  6.9   1.2

    52    Josh Southern     C/F   6'10  Fr.   3.9   2.4   --

    * Blocked shots per game

     

     A WIN--Would give the Pack 3 victories in its last 4 games and move State back to .500 in the ACC at

    5-5. The Wolfpack would earn its 16th win of the season against 8 losses and break a 2-game losing streak to Boston College in the series. State would improve to 3-6 in road games (2-4 ACC) and win for the second straight time in the series at Conte Forum. Boston College would lose its seventh straight game and drop to 12-11 overall and 3-7 in the conference. Due to ACC expansion, State and BC will not meet again during the regular season. Note: Four of the Pack’s final six regular season games are at home.

     

    A LOSSThe Pack would suffer its second two-game ACC losing streak of the season and drop to 15-9 overall and 4-6 in the ACC. State would drop its third straight game to BC in the series and lose for the fifth time in the last six meetings with the Eagles. BC would snap a six-game losing streak and win for the first time since January 15th. The Eagles would improve to 13-10 overall and 4-6 in the ACC. BC would win for the 11th time at home this season against 5 losses (3-2 ACC). The Eagles host Virginia on Sunday.

    Due to ACC expansion, State and BC will not meet again during the regular season.

     

    STARTBetter starts in 6 of the last 7 games have been a key factor for the Wolfpack. State is 4-3 during that stretch. Slow starts were a major problem in early January.  In four games from January 5th through January 15th, State averaged only 20.3 points (81) and shot 3-of-32 from the 3-point arc (.093).

     

    FINISH--In the last five games, State has managed to win only twice (FSU & VT) when enjoying the lead at halftime. State lost games at Duke and Maryland after holding a halftime lead. Against Wake Forest, State trailed by 7 points at the break, but rallied in the second half to win.

     

    HEATING UPGavin Grant has been a factor in State’s success over the last 7 games. During that span the senior forward has averaged 16.1 points (113) while shooting .500 from the field (33-66). That includes a 26-point outing at Duke on Jan. 31. In ACC games, Grant is shooting .542 from 3-point range (13-24). He leads the Pack in scoring in ACC games (14.7). Three times this season, Grant’s heroics in the final seconds have won games for the Wolfpack. His steal and layup with 2.1 seconds left in overtime gave State a 79-77 victory over Miami on Jan 19. Grant’s free throws against Villanova and Davidson were also game-winners.

     

    HERE’S THE POINT Due to a season-ending knee injury to Farnold Degand on December 23rd, the Wolfpack has been forced to rotate two inexperienced point guards. Freshman Javier Gonzalez and sophomore transfer Marques Johnson are learning the hard wayon the job. In the last 7 games, all of Gonzalez’s numbers have improved. During that stretch, he’s averaged 6.7 points (47), 3.4 rebounds (24), 3.4 assist (24) and only 1.8 turnovers (13). Gonzalez recorded a career-high 11points and 5 rebounds against Virginia Tech on 2/5/08.

     

    BIG BEN Ben McCauley’s one-handed slam at the buzzer was the game-winner in State’s thrilling 67-65 win over Wake Forest on Feb. 3rd. With the clock running down, Gavin Grant launched a 3-point shot from the right wing. It missed, but McCauley timed his leap and slammed it through left-handed. With Brandon Costner struggling, McCauley has started the last 5 games at power forward while averaging 7.2 points (36), 2.6 rebounds (13) and about 30 minutes.

     

    ROOKIE OF THE YEAR?J.J. Hickson, who leads all ACC freshmen with 8 double-doubles, was chosen as the ACC Rookie of the Week for the third time on Jan. 28th after he averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds in games against Georgia Tech and FSU. In his last 6 games, the big center, who leads all ACC rookies in scoring, is averaging 14.5 points (87), 9.5 rebounds (57). In four of those games, Hickson recorded a double-double. He leads the Pack in scoring and rebounding and tops the ACC in field goal percentage (.600).

     

    HARD KNOCKS ON THE BOARDS In ACC games, the Pack has a minus 3.8 rebounding margin and has outrebounded only 3-of-9 ACC opponents.

     

    FELLS VS. THE ACC Courtney Fells has scored in double-figures in 8-of-9 ACC games this season and is the team’s No.2 scorer in league games (14.6) while shooting 48-90 from the field (.533) and 26-51 from the 3-point arc (.510). His clutch 3-pointer with 18-seconds to play in overtime was a big part of State’s come-from-behind victory over Miami on Jan. 19. He scored a career-high 23 points vs. Georgia Tech on Jan. 23. Three days later at FSU, Fells hit two game-tying 3-pointers down the stretch to help fuel State’s victory. The junior guard is also State’s best perimeter defender.

     

    BULLS EYE After shooting only 9-of-27 (.333) from the 3-point arc in its first two ACC games, State has found the range. In its last 7 outings, the Pack has shot .449 from 3-point land (53-118).

     

    ENEMY BOMBING ACC opponents have combined to shoot 40 percent from the 3-point arc against the Wolfpack this season (54-135). Maryland shot the best long-range percentage against the Pack (.600) on 6-10 from the bonusphere. Overall, State is giving up 76 points and 48 percent shooting from the field in ACC games.

     

    MAKE EM’ PAY FOR FOULS Free throw shooting has been a big weapon for the Wolfpack. State has made more free throws this season than its opponents have attempted (402-to-318). Overall, State is shooting 71 percent from the stripe. The Pack has outscored its opponents 385-to-216 at the foul line this season and 140-111 in ACC games.

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