In a tale of two tales coach Pastner has to be thanking God for the two halves that make a whole basketball game. His Yellow Jackets couldn’t purchase a bucket in the first half. It was as if everyone’s credit card was being denied they swiped but it just wouldn’t go through. It was like there was a disconnect between the terminal and processing unit and everybody was just standing there waiting to get confirmation to what the problem was. It this case there was a lid over the hoop. They missed layups, easy shots in the paint, the ball just bounced around the rim teasing the fans who held their breath in anticipation then out it went. Perhaps it was some kind of Boston fog over Atlanta as a hangover from the super bowl whatever it was Coach Pastner needed a bottle of Tylenol. They could only muster 15 first half points connecting on 5-30 shots for a meager 17% shooting. They missed their first 10 shots from the floor, 1 for its first 19, and 2 for its first 24.
The best thing about the first half they hit 5-7 free throws. In the second coming somehow, they scored 50 points hitting 19-29 for a whopping 66% to defeat Boston College 65-54 in ACC play. “I’m proud of our guys. It’s a tale of two halves. Boy, there was a lid on that hoop in that first half like I’ve never seen before. But we were able to stay close somewhat due to our defense. That first half we held them to 25 percent from the field and 27 from three. We had a lot of turnovers, we just couldn’t score” said Pastner
I can imagine the half time rap session whatever he said worked like magic because the same team that went in didn’t come back out. They looked the same but played dramatically different. Ben Lammers started the transformation with a two hand tomahawk dunk right under the basket. Just like that the spell was broken, shots that didn’t fall in the first half started to fall. As a testament to the growth of this team they just continued to play hard earlier in the season they would have surrendered but this has blossomed into a solid team that believes they can win. Why not? They have defeated two top 10 teams, #9 ranked UNC Tar heels to shock the ACC, #6 Florida State.
Clemson, #14 Notre Dame, and boast a 5-6 record in ACC play when preseason talk was “if they won one call it a success.” This is being accomplished with the least experienced team in Division I basketball. Their 13-3 record at home has brought the crowd back to McCamish Pavilion where the Jackets swarm on the hardwood and they are looking good going down the stretch, “folks this is the type of team that can upset one of the big dogs as they head toward the madness”. Tadric Jackson scored 20 of his game high 29 points in the second half. He just continued to play and play hard. One play he dove for the ball in an all-out effort to the floor causing a back court violation that was appreciated by the crowd. Make no mistake it was his night to lead the Jackets to victory.
His head coach was complimentary with kind words.
“He was a big time player today, played at a very, very high level. He had a career high of 29 [points] and I’m proud of him for responding like that. It’s a direct correlation because of the last two days of practice, he stayed after practice and worked with great intensity on his game and that’s the reason why he had a good game today and really played at a high level.”
Ben Lammers contributed 14 points and 17 rebounds 13 of those on the defensive boards which eliminated second chance point opportunities for Boston College. He also had 4 assists and was his usual deterring force around the basket blocking 3 shots. His physical presence is probably more valuable than the number of blocks that showed up in the stats column. He made BC players shoot over and around him causing them to miss shots they probably would have connected on.
Boston College head coach Jim Christian respects his game “He takes away everything at the front of the rim. We tried to avoid him and go around him and that’s where they won the game. There’s a lot of great players in this league but he really does an unbelievable job on both sides. I think it’s underrated what he’s done on both sides of the floor. There’s a lot of guys who score but he really does an unbelievable job taking away the rim and he makes up for all of the mistakes around the basket. You have to be able to finish that. That’s why they’re inning.”
Josh Okogie came in with a double double on an off night scoring 12 points and snagging 12 rebounds. Justin Moore returned to contribute a career high 7 rebounds and 6 assist after missing the last three games. Perhaps more important was a big time three pointer he nailed to give them the lead. Josh Heath made his presence known with seven assists. It started as a nightmare but ended as a team win with multiple contributors in different aspects of the game. The Eagles bright spots were Jerome Robinson17 points, 3 rebounds, and two assists while Ky Robinson contributed 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assist, unfortunately, they are on a nine game skid.
The Yellow Jackets will Swarm to Miami on Wednesday to take on the Hurricanes.