Rushed Reactions: Miami 69, Boston College 58Posted by mpatton on March 15th, 2013
Matt Patton is an ACC microsite writer. He filed this report from the ACC quarterfinal match-up between Miami (FL) and Boston College this afternoon.
Three Key Takeaways:
- Zone Read: Around the under-eight media timeout in the first half, Steve Donahue switched to a loose zone. To that point, Miami had been clicking offensively, but the zone bothered the Hurricanes. It helped tremendously that Julian Gamble, Reggie Johnson and Tonye Jekiri all had two fouls, which partially neutralized the Hurricanes’ interior advantage. But Miami settled for jumpers and heavily contested shots, missing nine of its next 10 shots. The Hurricanes also turned it over three times. That allowed Boston College to finish on a 19-4 run and take a lead into halftime.
- Going Small: With five minutes left in the game, Jim Larranaga took Julian Gamble out, leaving Rion Brown, Trey McKinney-Jones, Shane Larkin, Durand Scott and Kenny Kadji on the floor. Essentially that’s Kadji with four guards and wings (all under 6’6″). After the game Jim Larranaga talked about the switch extensively:
“Thank goodness we were able to go small in the last ﬁve minutes. We don’t have a lot of perimeter subs so we couldn’t have done it earlier, even though we know that’s probably the best way to guard them. We were able to do that in the last ﬁve minutes and pull away and get a nice win and move on to the semiﬁnals. [...] The whole key in guarding Boston College, they do such a great job with ball screens and hitting the role man and hitting or ﬁnding another open man. When you’re bigger you’re slower in your rotation so the last five minutes we went to the small lineup and we switched most of them so there is no open man and we trapped with our big guy to be the aggressor at the end of the ﬂoor, both ends of the ﬂoor and both of those things worked at that time in the game.”
The aggressive small-ball strategy change proved brutally effective, as the Eagles hit two jumpers before caving to the pressure. After the game, Olivier Hanlan and Ryan Anderson mentioned the Eagles’s mental breakdowns at the end of the game, but Miami’s switch made that happen.
- Hanlan’s Bright Future: After the game Hanlan was pretty down: He responded to three straight questions by assuming the blame for Boston College’s loss. He described one really bad sequence — a turnover and subsequent failure to switch onto Shane Larkin with just under two minutes left. The mistakes gave Miami the opening they needed. Joe Rahon turned it over the next possession and suddenly a two-point game was a seven-point game. But Hanlan’s attitude after the game was one of a player who hates to lose more than he loves to win. Between his jumper and competitive spirit, Hanlan will be a nightmare for ACC teams the rest of his career.
Star of the Game: Shane Larkin hit huge shots for Miami down the stretch. In the first half he was only 2-of-6 from the field, good for five points. But in the second half he was 6-of-9 for 15 points including a steal and five points in the final two minutes.
Wildcard: Boston College is faced with a Catch-22. Steve Donahue’s best lineup is filled with small shooters, but the Eagles got absolutely manhandled inside by Miami until foul trouble took Jim Larranaga’s fives out of his rotation. Boston College will be helped some when Dennis Clifford gets totally healthy and can play more minutes, but the Eagles just don’t have a ton of strength on their roster. That’s the one weakness it’s easy to see for Donahue’s team going forward.
Quotable: “I think it was the mental breakdown at the end of the game. I don’t know if it was mental fatigue but we messed up on rotations and finishing things and making free throws, so a lot of things they beat us on at the end.” — Boston College forward Ryan Anderson
What’s Next: Miami draws NC State Saturday in a what should be a great game based on their first meeting. Like that contest, this should be a heavily pro-Wolfpack crowd. But the teams appear to be trending in different directions. It’ll match up offense versus defense and two of the best frontcourts in the country.