BC adds to Carolina's frustration

February 20, 2010 - 11:22 am
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Who would have thought that an Ivy League game between Harvard and Cornell one night earlier would have a better atmosphere than an ACC game between Boston College and defending national champion North Carolina? There may have been almost four times as many people at Conte Forum than Lavietes Pavilion '€” the crowd Saturday was 8,128, a few hundred short of a sellout '€” but the Chestnut Hill crowd was subdued, passive and/or bored for the majority of Saturday's game, a 71-67 BC victory. The players on both teams didn't help much, missing easy shots close to the basket, committing sloppy turnovers and generally playing without much emotion despite the importance of the game for both struggling squads. Even excitable CBS announcer Gus Johnson couldn't find anything to scream about. During a timeout with 8:51 remaining and his team trailing by six points, UNC coach Roy Williams finally had seen enough. He gathered his team around, and from inside the huddle, he blasted his players. And yet, the Tar Heels did not respond, at least not in regards to the scoreboard. "It's a frustrating time for us, the most frustrating time I've ever had in coaching, there's no question about that," Williams said after his team fell to 14-13 overall, 3-9 ACC. "Some way, somehow we've got to keep trying to do the best we can do. "I didn't think we played with a sense of urgency in the first half that we needed," Williams added. "In the second half we got off to a good start, things were easy. Then when it got difficult we didn't play as well as we needed to play. It's frustrating, that's about the best way I could say it." Earlier in the week, Williams lamented the fact that this team is not living up to a typical Roy Williams-coached team's effort and intensity level. Needless to say, there are no Tyler Hansbroughs out there. Instead of the undersized 6-foot-9 post player who played out every possession, Carolina features a handful of highly regarded underclassmen between 6-10 and 7-0 who have no bulk on their frame and show no anger in their game. Yesterday, the Heels were outrebounded (43-39) by a team with one player over 6-8 -- 6-10 Josh Southern, who played only eight minutes (no boards). Williams is tired of trying to figure out a way to get in his players' heads. "That's a bunch of b.s.," he said of the psychological angle. "You've got to frickin' play. If my back's against the wall and I'm getting my tail kicked, I'm going to fight you 'til I frickin' die. And '€” I'd better stop." Asked about his players missing open layups '€” as 7-footer Tyler Zeller did Saturday on one second-half sequence '€” Williams again was dumbfounded. "By golly, if you're going to be a basketball player, be that," he said. "If you're going to be afraid, come over there and sit down. I tried to be a psychologist for half the year, now it's just: You've got to get it done." In Carolina's defense, if there is an ACC team that usually does not inspire much emotion, it's Boston College. The Eagles (13-13, 4-8) come without the rivalry status of a Duke or Maryland, they lack a high ranking or national recognition, they don't talk much trash, and the Conte Forum crowds are among the league's least rowdy. And BC's annoying flex offense -- with its deliberate high-post passes and slow-down style -- could put any defense to sleep. That's just the way BC likes it. "Even in practice when we run it, we can't guard it ourselves, and we already know what's going to happen," said BC sophomore forward Evan Ravenel, who gave BC a boost with eight points, four rebounds and two blocks in 17 minutes. "So I think it definitely frustrates the other team. "It's crazy. I've run the flex before, but I've never run it so tight before I came here. It's different. The passes have got to be on time. Everything's got to be working or it won't work. It definitely frustrates the other team." Ravenel was the one who finally woke up the crowd, grabbing a missed Reggie Jackson drive and slamming it home with ferocity with 1:53 left to increase BC's lead to five at 67-62. It also ended up taking about 10 seconds off the clock, as the ball bounced all the way out to midcourt while the seconds continued to tick off. [Williams was ticked off as well, but he didn't bother to belabor the point to the officials.] BC brought it home by continuing to be more physical than UNC, and the Eagles had their second straight win over the Tar Heels, whose NCAA tournament chances just took another big hit. Said Williams: "Right now we've got a lot of holes we're trying to fill and we don't have enough fingers."