Saturday, December 22, 2018

Green’s five things to look back on Boston College’s 65-62 win at DePaul

Photo Credit: Justin Casterline- Getty Images

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

Despite going the first 39:25 of the game without a lead, the Boston College Eagles (9-2) willed their way to a 65-62 win at the DePaul Blue Demons (8-3). Here are my five things to look back on from Wintrust Arena.

1) Tabbs’ clutch scoring:

With its perimeter shooting obsolete at 3-of-17 and without a lead in the game, Boston College’s Wynston Tabbs stepped up in the final two minutes to score eight of the final 10 points to finish with 15.

Eagles coach Jim Christian knows the win was not pretty, but gave credit to Tabbs and others for delivering when needed the most.

“There’s a lot of ways to win, but what I was proud of from my team was we had guys that didn’t play and shoot the ball well. However, when they needed to make plays, they made them,” Christian said. “That’s what you have to do when you are on the road— you have to find a way to win and we were gritty enough to make free throws down the stretch.”

2) Popovic delivers:

With top scorer Ky Bowman held in check for the majority of the game, along with the absence of Jordan Chatman for the third straight game, Nik Popovic provided the stability to keep Boston College afloat with a game-high 19 points, on 7-of-12 from the field.

Popovic’s 19 gave him his sixth straight game in double digits for the Eagles.

3) REEDing Rainbow:

In his second straight game in the starting lineup for Jalen Coleman-Lands (hand), Paul Reed continued to progress for DePaul with six points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

Reed’s play helped the Blue Demons finish with 47 rebounds, which allowed them to attack more in the paint to counter its struggles from the perimeter.

4) Strus’ ability to adapt:

Known primarily for his ability to make timely shots, Max Strus showed off other facets of this game, such as a behind the back pass to Jaylen Butz late in the first half. The versatility helped make up for a 1-of-10 effort from three-point range as Strus finished with 16 points, on 7-of-22 from the field.

“We shot very poorly today and shouldn’t have to feel like if we shoot great or poorly that it decides our success,” DePaul coach Dave Leitao said. “That’s what the world of college basketball does— How did you play today and how much did you score? It really isn’t about that and Max epitomizes a guy that does so many other things to get himself involved in the game.”

Christian put together a game plan for Strus and glad it worked out for the most part despite not getting its first lead until the final 35 seconds.

“The plan with great players is to try and not give them anything easy and we did it late by giving a couple of easy baskets away,” Christian said.

5) Another one bites the dust for DePaul:

In what has almost become the norm in the Dave Leitao era, the Blue Demons found another way to lose a double-digit lead in regulation.

While the talent has improved in Leitao’s fourth season, it appears the communication continues to not be there at times and reared its ugly head at the worst possible time with 38 seconds left in regulation.

Eli Cain received the inbounds pass from the referee and threw the ball away to Tabbs and was fouled going to the rim by Strus.

Leitao admitted the inbounds play had not been practiced over the last week and could have played a big part in a lack of preparation for the moment.

“The ball was thrown early and we practiced before, but haven’t done it in a week. It is a standard play to have three to four options, but the ball got thrown in way to early as Devin [Gage] wasn’t expecting it,” Leitao said.