Mike Scott scored 13 points at Boston College.
Virginia did not find a cure for its struggles on Wednesday night as Boston College dealt a 68-55 road loss to UVa. The Cavaliers, who have dropped eight straight games, continued to misfire offensively in defeat. The Hoos have scored 55 points or less five times during the recent losing streak and they have surpassed 62 points just once since January.
Against BC, the Cavaliers could not find any consistency offensively. In the first half for example, the visitors had two different stretches of five minutes or more where they scored three or less points. The Hoos posted two points in the game’s first four minutes to start the contest with a 13-2 deficit by the 16:12 mark when Tony Bennett called a timeout. The end of the half was just as bad. The Cavaliers did not score a single point for 6:42 and closed the first half with just three points in the final 9:22; that led to a 37-23 Boston College lead at intermission.
The Hoos shot 36% in the first half. And despite shooting 46.2% on the night, Virginia made just 2 of 13 3-pointers (15.4%) and 5 of 11 free throws (45.5%).
“When you’re getting some quality looks and they’re just not going in, you can’t get hot from the perimeter,” Bennett told the Virginia Sports Radio Network. “We tried to high-low pound it inside and use the dribble a little bit. … You just have to have a balance in your offense. When the balance isn’t there – I mean we shot 46% from the floor in this game and it’s been a while since we touched the 40’s, but our lack of ability to stretch the defense hurts us. And the free throws hurt us.”
Many of the points UVa did muster came from Sylven Landesberg and Mike Scott. Landesberg, who missed the Duke game with a thigh bruise, returned from the one-game absence to record 13 points; he did not shoot a high percentage, however, making just 6 of 15 shots (1 of 6 on 3-pointers) and he missed both of his free throw attempts.
Scott, meanwhile, snapped out of a two-game scoring funk – he did not score any points in the contests against Miami and Duke. Against Boston College, Scott made several aggressive moves early (a diving cut through the paint to catch and score, a post move to a jump hook in the paint, and a strong post move to earn free throws; he made 1 of 2) and that helped him get better opportunities than in the previous two games. He finished with 13 points and made 6 of 8 shots; he also added 9 rebounds and 3 assists.
Jerome Meyinsse was the only other Hoo in double figures with 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting.
“We brought Mike off the bench and we wanted to see how he responded – didn’t say much to him, we just wanted to see,” Bennett said. “I thought he played, certainly on the offensive end, better and he battled. He stepped up and we’ll take that as a good thing.”
While UVa could not overcome the overall offensive obstacles once again, the defense did not help matters either. While Boston College shot just 44% in the game, it dictated the flow of the game and set the tone with physical play. Of course, even though the Eagles did miss some shots, they still took advantage of the Hoos’ defensive issues. BC scored 14 second-chance points on the night thanks to 13 offensive rebounds. Several possessions featured multiple O-Boards for the Eagles as they kept crashing until the ball went in the basket.
Much of the damage came from Boston College’s version of the flex offense, a system that has caused problems frequently for this Virginia team. BC’s big bodies created space around the lane despite a tight alignment and the players mixed in some jumpers and free throws to boot. Corey Raji led his team with 18 points (6 of 12) and 9 rebounds (5 offensive) while Joe Trapani added 14 (5 of 8). Rakim Sanders had 11 points as well.
The win lifted the Eagles above the Hoos in the ACC standings. At 5-10 in the ACC, UVa now sits in ninth place, one spot behind Boston College. The Cavaliers have one more chance in the regular season to stop the season-ending slide when they host Maryland on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
“We’ve got one more game left in the regular season and hopefully we’ll come out and fight,” Bennett said. “But again, we’re just looking for the guys that want to represent this program with the kind of effort and toughness that will be needed to go beyond where we’re at. We’ve certainly got to make some improvements in the future and that’s why I’m here.”