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Wednesday, January 26, 2011
BC has a lot of concerns with Duke

By Jack McCluskey

Coming off a loss to then-unranked (now No. 22) Florida State, Boston College is headed to No. 3 Duke on Thursday looking to pull off an upset and avoid a two-game losing streak in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

History is not on the Eagles' side.

BC's record against Duke is 2-12. In Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Eagles are 0-5.

In fact, the Eagles (14-5, 4-2 ACC) haven't beaten a top-10 team since Feb. 15, 2009. (That win came at home against the then-No. 6 Blue Devils.)

If they want to have a shot against Duke (18-1, 5-1 ACC), the Eagles must do a better job than they did against the Seminoles (15-5, 5-1 ACC) on both ends of the court.

"We didn't play extremely well, necessarily," BC coach Steve Donahue said, referring to his team's performance in the 67-51 loss in his weekly ACC teleconference on Monday, "but I think Florida State had a lot to do with that."

Florida State held BC to its lowest totals in points (51), made field goals (17) and field goal percentage (35.4 percent, 17-of-48) this season. The Eagles had been averaging 75.5 points a game on close to 48 percent shooting, but came nowhere near those numbers against FSU. That's not entirely surprising, considering the Seminoles are holding opponents to just 34.9 percent shooting this season, best in the country.

And after beating Virginia by getting to the free throw line and converting, the Eagles didn't help themselves in Tallahassee by tying a season low for free throw percentage, making just 50 percent (9-of-18) of their foul shots.

It also didn't help that the Eagles went into the contest at less than full strength.

Starting guard Biko Paris missed the game with an illness. (Freshman Gabriel Moton started in place of Paris.) Joe Trapani also was plagued by flu-like symptoms prior to tip-off, but he played and scored a game-high 19 points. But after scoring 14 points in the first half, Trapani's legs failed him in the second.

More important than any offensive struggles, however, may be the struggles on the other end.

"One of the things we've tried to do this year is try to figure out what's best for this team defensively. And there's no mistaking that it's our Achilles' heel," Donahue said. "And at times we've played it well. I thought we did a very good job in the first half at Florida State and unfortunately we did not do a good job in the second half. Maybe that has a little to do with us getting worn down in the second half of games."

For full preview of BC-Duke, click here.