Eagles head into homestretch

March 01, 2010 - 10:07 am

Consistency. That'€™s what coach Al Skinner wants to see out of his basketball team during the homestretch of the season. BC (14-14) has been anything but consistent this season. At times the Eagles have shown signs of life, as in their win over Clemson or even the loss to Duke. But those glimmers of hope have been closed quickly with bad losing streaks that have all but sunk any chance of an NCAA bid. For example, take the most recent four-game losing streak. The Eagles were in every contest, minus the bad loss at Florida State, and a win was realistic in every game. But a bad shot here, a miscue there and the losses piled up. Skinner is just hoping his team can keep fighting '€” the Eagles are 2-1 in their last three contests '€” to keep any chance of postseason hopes alive. '€œI'€™m just looking to sustain a certain level of play that I think that we have accomplished over the last couple of weeks,'€ Skinner said during the ACC coaches teleconference on Monday. '€œWe are hoping to continue to improve that way and that'€™s basically what we are looking for. '€œOr at least to get to the point where we know what to expect from each other and be able to get out on the floor and get that accomplished.'€ Coming off a tough road loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday, the Eagles have two more games remaining on the regular-season schedule. It will be the last chance to fine-tune some things before they head into the all-important ACC tournament '€” realistically the only shot BC has at a NCAA tourney bid is with an ACC tourney title. In a season in which many breaks have not fallen the Eagles way, they may be catching a few when it counts the most. Virginia '€” which will travel to Conte Forum on Wednesday '€“ has lost seven straight games and could potentially be without leading scorer Sylven Landesberg, who is listed as day-to-day with a bruised right thigh. NC State will host the Eagles on Sunday, and the Wolfpack'€™s Tracy Smith '€” the team'€™s leading scorer and rebounder '€” could be hobbled with a balky knee. According to coach Sidney Lowe, Smith should be good to go. Either way, Skinner has said he has liked the defensive effort that his team produced in this last stretch, mostly because he believes his team is getting healthy at the right time. '€œWe were struggling with our health for most of the year and just like anything else just trying to get some consistency,'€ Skinner said. '€œThe other thing is I think guys have taken a little more responsibility on that side of the ball and our defense has improved because of that.'€ The Cavaliers (14-13) once were atop the ACC early in the season, but their recent seven-game skid now has them in a tie with the Eagles at 5-9 in league play. Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett said his team will have its hands full when it heads to the Heights on Wednesday. '€œWatching them on tape and how hard they run their cuts, how they fight for position, I know it will be very physical and I know they are good at home,'€ said Bennett, whose team hasn'€™t played BC this season. '€œThey really test you with that physicality.'€ Another test will be containing Reggie Jackson. Since returning the to the starting lineup, Jackson has been more of a facilitator of the offense. He has had double-digit assists in the last two games and Skinner has taken notice. "We had the week off and had the chance to resolve some things, and for the most part I think we'€™ve been able to do that," Skinner said. "[Jackson] has kind of benefited from it and he'€™s been able to handle the ball for us. He'€™s had some games where he'€™s had double-digit assists, which is something that we haven'€™t had all season long." The Eagles are halfway sunk in quicksand, but these last games will show us if they are willing to dig themselves out or just keep sinking in over their heads.