College Basketball Nation: Olivier Hanlan

BC falls to Maryland despite Owens' effort

December, 12, 2013

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- It’s still too early in the season to call a game a must-win, but it’s safe to say both Boston College and Maryland viewed Thursday night’s game as an important one.

Both the Eagles and the Terps came into the night on two-game losing streaks. Both teams desperately wanted to start ACC play with a W and not an L.

Early it seemed only Mark Turgeon’s team came to play, as the Terps used a 16-5 run to sprint out to a 12-point lead early in the first half. But just when things could’ve gotten completely out of hand, a Maryland native brought BC back.

[+] EnlargeJake Layman, Garland Owens
AP Photo/Charles KrupaGarland Owens' performance went for naught as BC lost at home.
“I thought Garland had a lot to do with that,” BC coach Steve Donahue said of freshman Garland Owens, who’s from Gaithersburg, Md. “I just thought he brought great energy from the start, got us out of that tentativeness that we had to start the game.”

That energy was evident when the 6-foot-5, 202-pounder gave BC its first highlight-reel play of the night shortly after checking in.

Olivier Hanlan pulled down a rebound on a Maryland missed 3-pointer and pushed hard upcourt. Owens ran with him, and Hanlan saw his teammate streaking down the right side and lobbed up an alley-oop that Owens easily slammed home with two hands.

Then Owens, not known as a marksman, hit a pair of 3s later in the half, chipping away at the Terrapins’ lead as BC struggled back into the game to be down just six at the half. And with Maryland up seven nearing the halfway point of the second half, Owens struck again.

Joe Rahon skipped a pass across court to an open Owens in front of the BC bench, and the freshman drilled another 3. Maryland turned the ball over on the next possession, and when Hanlan couldn’t find an entry angle he liked to get the ball to Ryan Anderson in the post he gave it instead to Owens at the top of the key and the freshman swished another from long range to get BC within one.

A couple of Hanlan free throws later, the Eagles had their first lead of the game at 57-56 with 10:20 to go.

After coming into the game averaging 2.9 points a game, with only three made 3s (on eight attempts) all season, Owens had 16 points on 4-for-5 shooting from 3 and it looked like he might be the difference in a key comeback win for BC.

But the good times were not to last. BC led by as many as four with fewer than seven minutes to go, but Maryland junior Dez Wells took over on offense from there and helped the Terps battle back, retake the lead and close out an 88-80 win.

“Dez Wells kinda put us on his back,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “You could sense it, he was just bigger and stronger than them and he played downhill all night. For him to have a night like this, I’m really happy for him, because he takes losing harder than anyone.”

The defense, or lack thereof, was a major problem for BC. The Eagles allowed Maryland to shoot 55.2 percent for the game, led by Wells’ 12-for-18 performance for a game-high 33 points. Wells scored 22 of those points in the second half.

“They were playing pretty simple, Dez Wells was gonna drive it,” Donahue said. “Dez Wells gets no assists. He’s not someone who finds guys.

“What I tried to stress to the guys was, Dez Wells isn’t a passer. He’s a heck of a driver.”

But even though they knew what was coming, the Eagles couldn’t stop the 6-5, 215-pounder on Thursday.

“It just comes down to the team effort, getting to the ball,” Hanlan said. “He was starting the ball from his hoop and just going straight down there. It’s obviously hard, he’s obviously a great player but we could’ve done a better job on that side.”

If the Eagles are going to right their disappointing season, they need to start doing a better job consistently and quickly. Thursday night’s loss dropped Donahue & Co. to 3-7 on the young season.

“We’re really close in a lot of ways,” Donahue said. “As I’ve said, I have great faith in this group, and we’re gonna chip away at it and we’re gonna be a good team.”

Jack McCluskey is an editor for and a frequent contributor to Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.

Five things: Connecticut-Boston College

November, 21, 2013

Here are five quick thoughts from No. 18 Connecticut’s 72-70 win over Boston College on Thursday evening at Madison Square Garden:

X factor: When people talk about UConn, they usually start with the talented backcourt of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright. But DeAndre Daniels is the player who can turn this team from good into great.

The 6-foot-9, 195-pound junior scored just 19 points in the Huskies’ first three games, including a goose egg against Yale. But in the team’s past two games, he’s exploded for 24 against Boston University and 23 versus Boston College.

Daniels is a matchup nightmare -- he can shoot the 3 or take it to the rim and has some crafty moves in the paint. If he turns into a reliable offensive threat, watch out.

The other end: Napier and Boatright didn’t have great games offensively. Napier did score 20 but shot just 6-for-17 from the field with only two assists; Boatright scored nine. But they did an excellent job on defense, blanketing Boston College star guard Olivier Hanlan.

Hanlan, last year’s ACC Rookie of the Year, came in averaging 24.5 points per game and went off for 38 in BC’s last game, a win over Florida Atlantic. But Napier and Boatright shadowed Hanlan everywhere he went Thursday night.

Hanlan still managed to score 19 points, but he had to work awfully hard to get them.

Contenders: We’re only five games into the season, but we’ve seen enough to say this Connecticut team is capable of making a run to the Final Four.

Four different players are capable of scoring 20-plus on any given night -- sophomore guard Omar Calhoun has that potential, too. They have capable, if somewhat raw, bigs. And they have experience, despite being ineligible for the postseason last year.

Speaking of Hanlan: Yes, he finished under his scoring average. But he was impressive nonetheless.

The best part about Hanlan’s night was he didn’t force the issue. Most big-time scorers would feel the need to hoist up shots regardless of the defense. Hanlan played under control (5-for-14 from the field, 7-for-8 from the foul line), scoring when he could and trying to create for teammates when he couldn’t.

Many teams BC will face this season won’t have guards as quick as Napier and Boatright. Hanlan will have plenty of big games.

Eagles forecast: Boston College did a very nice job hanging around against a more talented opponent. The Eagles could have wilted twice -- when they fell behind by 11 in the first half and when they again fell behind by 11 in the second half. But they bounced back both times to remain within striking distance.

They even had a 3-point shot attempt from near midcourt at the final buzzer that would have won the game, but Boatright blocked Lonnie Jackson’s attempt.

On a hot shooting night, Boston College could beat just about any team in the country. But the Eagles shot just 8-for-25 from beyond the arc Thursday night. That wasn’t quite good enough to take out UConn.
1. Memphis coach Josh Pastner had former Missouri guard Michael Dixon on campus Tuesday for a face-to-face visit. Dixon's case is complicated, as's Jason King reported, and there is plenty he must do to become eligible. There are a few issues at play here for Pastner. One of the downsides of social media is that Dixon's arrival was well-chronicled, and his supposed commitment put out for the world to see before it was actually done. Pastner had no time to make a decision before it was presumed to have been made for him. Now, suddenly, his timeline is pushed up because of the assumption that a commitment has been accepted, whether or not an offer was extended. Pastner doesn't need to take second-chance players. He did once with Geron Johnson and it worked out. And while there is no guarantee that newcomers Kuran Iverson and Rashawn Powell will be eligible, according to a source, it's also unknown whether Dixon will be, either. Pastner has done a fantastic job under the shadow of John Calipari and has the Tigers ready to move to the American Athletic Conference next season on an upward trajectory. He was investigating Dixon on his own, but the visit got exposed before any firm decision was made. Now Pastner has to make a public choice of whether to waste his time on taking a player who is searching for an opportunity that not every program may be willing to give him for one year.

2. The U.S. World University Games team will have its hands full with Canada during the competition, set for July 6-17 in Kazan, Russia. The Canadian roster, released Tuesday, isn't as loaded but boasts plenty of major-college talent. Boston College's Olivier Hanlan, the ACC freshman of the year, is joined by headline players Kyle Wiltjer (Kentucky), Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga), Dwight Powell (Stanford), Brady Heslip (Baylor), Melvin Ejim (Iowa State), Laurent Rivard (Harvard) and Jordan Bachynski (Arizona State). Each of these Canadians will have a significant role on his respective team, with all of them starting the season in position to make a run at an NCAA bid. Ejim may be the most intriguing of the lot, with a real shot to be even more of a breakout player in the Big 12. Pangos will have more scoring next season. Powell led the Cardinal last season. Rivard will be a fixture on a stacked Crimson. Wiltjer has to adjust his role with the newcomers at Kentucky but can still be a matchup problem. Heslip must be more consistent. Bachynski has to absorb some of Carrick Felix's numbers after his departure. And Hanlan will be responsible for leading the Eagles higher in the ACC.

3. Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg has taken plenty of transfers his first few years in Ames. He has had success stories mixed in with quality newcomers. I'll be very interested to see if he can maximize the talent of DeAndre Kane, who was a disappointment for Marshall after starting last season with such promise. Kane was essentially asked to leave Marshall by coach Tom Herrion; they weren't going to mesh for one more season. Now Kane has to be in step with Hoiberg if his final year in college is going to be productive. Kane originally was looking to go to Pitt, but that didn't work out, either. He pursued Iowa State and the Cyclones were receptive. It's in everyone's best interest that this works for next season so the Cyclones can be relevant come March for a third consecutive season.

Conference Power Rankings: ACC

March, 8, 2013
So what was more surprising on Thursday night: Michael Snaer's fourth game winner this season (and sixth over the past two seasons), or another loss by Virginia, which continues to play slip-and-slide with the NCAA tournament bubble? With one more weekend left in the ACC’s regular season -- and it could be a doozy -- here’s another attempt at the league’s power rankings:

1. Duke. Ryan Kelly missed two months with a foot injury, but he sure hasn’t looked like it. The Blue Devils forward has averaged 27 points in the two games since his return, scoring 36 in Duke's down-to-the-wire nail-biter Saturday against then-No. 5 Miami, and then 18 on Tuesday's Senior Night against Virginia Tech. Duke is now 17-0 this season with Kelly in the lineup -- and will be trying for 18-0 in Saturday’s showdown at UNC.

2. North Carolina. One of the keys to the Tar Heels going small? Getting some big play out of wing Reggie Bullock. The junior has posted three double-doubles in UNC’s past four games, and is averaging 15.5 points and 9 rebounds during his team’s six-game winning streak. The Tar Heels have secured a first-day ACC tournament bye. And as for that NCAA tournament bubble -- what bubble?

3. Miami. Just two weeks ago, it looked as if the Hurricanes were going to win the ACC regular season in a runaway. But they’ve now dropped three of their past four -- including the down-to-the-wire classic at Duke last weekend and Wednesday's loss to Georgia Tech when they squandered a double-digit lead. Miami can still clinch the outright regular-season title versus Clemson on Saturday. But the Canes drop in these power rankings after an 0-2 week.

4. NC State. In his last game of the season at PNC Arena on Wednesday, forward C.J. Leslie played his most complete game of the season -- recording 19 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks against Wake Forest. The Wolfpack have now won six of their past seven games and this weekend still could earn the third seed in the league tournament.

5. Michael Snaer. Florida State could be lower in these rankings, but the senior guard deserves an upper-half slot all by himself. After all, if not for his four game winners this season -- the latest on a left-handed runner with 4 seconds left against Virginia on Thursday night -- the Seminoles would be 4-13 in ACC play, instead of 8-9. FSU has now won two of its past three games, with Snaer averaging 18.3 points during that stretch.

6. Virginia. Is there an odder team out there, NCAA projection-wise, than the Cavaliers? Thursday night’s last-second loss at Florida State means UVa now has lost four of its past six games -- and its past two, at Boston College and at FSU, have come against teams with sub-.500 ACC records. Entering the game, the Cavs already had won four games this season against teams with a top-50 RPI, but lost four games against teams with RPIs below 150. What would you do if you were on the selection committee?

7. Maryland. Too many turnovers; too much inconsistency. As a result, the Terps are now 2-3 since their Feb. 16 upset of Duke, and they’re probably going to need the league’s automatic bid (via winning the ACC tournament) to make the NCAA field. It has been a disappointing, frustrating few weeks for coach Mark Turgeon and Maryland fans, and for good reason.

8. Georgia Tech. Talk about a confidence boost: Marcus Georges-Hunt's tip-in at the buzzer against Miami secured the Yellow Jackets’ first victory over a top-25 team since March 2010. Chris Bolden's career-high 21 points were also key to Tech winning for the second time in three games.

9. Boston College. It was a positive week for the Eagles, who got a game-winning 3-pointer from Joe Rahon with 8.2 seconds left against Virginia, followed by a solid Olivier Hanlan-led victory at Clemson. It marked the first time Rahon has scored in double figures in back-to-back games in league play, and it was Hanlan’s fourth conference game with 20 or more points.

10. Wake Forest. The Deacs have now lost three straight since upsetting Miami -- including Wednesday at NC State, where they were missing point guard Codi Miller-McIntyre because of strep throat. Senior C.J. Harris has made only 9 of 31 shots over his past three games.

11. Clemson. The Tigers have now lost five straight, and eight of their past nine. Senior forward Devin Booker is finishing strong individually, however, averaging 17.6 points over the last quintet of losses. Clemson travels to Miami on Saturday for its regular-season finale.

12. Virginia Tech. Guard Erick Green enters his final regular-season ACC game (at Wake Forest on Sunday) as the nation’s leading scorer (25 points per game). How many ACC Player of the Year votes will he get?

Numbers to Know: Tuesday Recap

March, 6, 2013
Player of the Night -- Aaron Craft, Ohio State
While bringing his customary tenacious defense, Craft had 15 points (10 in the second half), four rebounds, four assists and four steals in Ohio State’s 67-58 win at No. 2 Indiana. For Ohio State, it was just the third true road win in school history over a top-two opponent.

Bench Player of the Night -- LaDarius White, Ole Miss
In a game with huge bubble implications, Ole Miss held off Alabama 87-83 on senior night. White had 17 points, four rebounds, two steals and two assists off the bench for the Rebels. He’s the first Ole Miss player to come off the bench and put up that stat line in a conference game since Dwayne Curtis in 2006.

Scorer of the Night -- Dwayne Davis, Southern Miss
A career-high 35 points from Davis wasn’t enough as Southern Miss fell to Marshall, 88-84. Despite the loss, Davis’ night is worthy of mention. In addition to 35 points, he had five rebounds, four assists and four steals. He’s just the third player this season to reach all of those totals, joining Texas State’s Joel Wright and Temple’s Khalif Wyatt. But the last C-USA player to do it was Houston’s Damon Jones in 1996.

Freshman of the Night -- Olivier Hanlan, Boston College
Hanlan scored 21 of his 24 points in the second half, as Boston College picked up a rare road win at Clemson. The Eagles had lost seven straight on road going into this one. At 14.6 points per game, Hanlan leads all ACC freshmen in scoring.

Ugly Stat Line -- Illinois Fighting Illini
Illinois continues to be one of the nation’s most confusing squads. The same team that won six of its previous seven shot just 28.6 percent in a 63-55 loss at Iowa. That’s Illinois’ lowest field goal percentage in a Big Ten game in more than six years.

Conference Power Rankings: ACC

February, 22, 2013
With roughly two weeks left in the regular season, the race is on for a top-four seed (and first-day bye) in the ACC tournament. In the meantime, here are this week's rankings based on myriad factors, including how teams have performed lately and the foes they've faced:

1. Miami. Clemson and Virginia both tested the Canes, but a late 3-pointer from Kenny Kadji at the Tigers and Reggie Johnson's tiebreaking layup versus the Cavs kept Miami undefeated in league play. The 13-0 record marks the hottest league start since Duke went 16-0 en route to the conference title in 1998-99.

2. Duke. The Devils bounced back from a close loss at Maryland with a blowout win at Virginia Tech as Mason Plumlee followed a four-point, three-rebound performance with a double-double Thursday night. Coach Mike Krzyzewski is now third on the career list for victories at one school (877), behind Dean Smith and Jim Boeheim.

3. NC State. The Wolfpack got a big boost by inserting 6-foot-8 T.J. Warren into the starting lineup this week. Not only did he turn in a 31-point, 13-rebound performance against FSU, but the team grabbed a season-best 45 boards. The Pack have won three straight, and it will be interesting to see whether they stay big against the Tar Heels this weekend.

4. North Carolina. Coach Roy Williams continues to start a smaller lineup with sophomore P.J. Hairston at the 4, and the Tar Heels continue to look faster and more aggressive with another scorer on the floor. Forward James Michael McAdoo's double-double at Georgia Tech, after he scored in single digits for three straight games, is a good sign, too.

5. Virginia. The Cavs are in the midst of a tough stretch. They lost at both UNC and No. 2 Miami in the past week, play a Georgia Tech team this weekend that beat them earlier this month, and then face another test in No. 6 Duke coming up next week. Junior Joe Harris, though, continues to be on a tear, averaging 22.4 points over his past five games.

6. Maryland. Another (way) up and (way) down week for the Terps, who upset the then-second-ranked Blue Devils at home, only to lose on the road to a focused Boston College team that had won just three previous ACC games. After posting an impressive 19-point, nine-rebound game against Mason Plumlee, Maryland big man Alex Len managed only four points against the Eagles.

7. Florida State. For all his last-second shots this season, Seminoles point guard Michael Snaer hadn’t managed 20 points against an ACC foe this year, until this week. He followed a 21-point game in a win against Boston College with 20 during a loss at NC State. Next up: a trip to Virginia Tech.

8. Clemson. Another week, another home heartbreaker for the Tigers, who lost to Miami on Kadji’s 3 after losing to NC State on a Scott Wood 3 on Feb. 10. At least they won a close one in the middle at Georgia Tech. Devin Booker posted his fifth double-double of the season in Clemson’s latest loss.

9. Georgia Tech. Freshman Robert Carter Jr. hit two free throws in the final 10 seconds to beat Wake Forest before Georgia Tech lost by double figures to the Tar Heels. The Yellow Jackets were an ouch-worthy 4-for-11 from the free throw line in their latest game and remain the worst foul-shooting team in the league (63.2 percent).

10. Boston College. And to build on the above note about the importance of free throws: The Eagles hit 16 straight down the stretch to protect the lead in their win over Maryland. Freshman Olivier Hanlan scored a career-high 26 points in that game, and BC has won two of its past three.

11. Wake Forest. A three-point loss at Boston College followed by a one-point loss to Georgia Tech? The bottom tier of the ACC likes to make things interesting, at least. The Deacs are second in the league in steals, sandwiched between UNC and Duke, and C.J. Harris continues to lead the team with 14.8 points per game.

12. Virginia Tech. Erick Green is still really good, adding a 22-point game against Duke to his nation-leading scoring average. His team still is struggling, though, losing nine in a row -- including two in overtime and Thursday's loss to the Blue Devils.

It was a lopsided win for North Carolina, 82-70, at Conte Forum on Tuesday night. But it was a scary win, too.

Tar Heels reserve P.J. Hairston -- who had 14 early points -- was playing defense with about four minutes left in the first half when he took an elbow to the head during a mid-air collision with teammate Dexter Strickland. Hairston lay on the floor in obvious pain for several moments, being attended to by trainer Chris Hirth and coach Roy Williams, before teammates tried to help him back to the bench. But Hairston appeared woozy and lost his balance after a step or two, and he was eventually taken off the court via stretcher.

Hairston was diagnosed with a concussion. He returned to the end of the bench in the second half for a stretch before returning to the locker room. He was expected to be able to fly home with the team.

Turning point: The Tar Heels were trailing 8-2 when Hairston came off the bench and jump-started 19-4 run that pushed his team ahead, for good. Hairston had four 3-pointers during the stretch. Then, fouled on a 3 with 8:22 left in the first half, he buried two free throws to propel the Tar Heels ahead 29-18.

Standout player(s): Hairston had three assists to go along with 14 points in 12 minutes before his injury, continuing his roughly one-point-per-minute trend over his past few outings. Against Georgia Tech last week, he scored 15 points in 17 minutes; at NC State, he recorded 19 points in 17 minutes.

Meanwhile, teammate James Michael McAdoo finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, his third double-double in his past four games.

Freshman Olivier Hanlan led BC with 22 points, tying his career high.

Number(s) to know: The Tar Heels scored 38 points in the 15 minutes, 58 seconds before Hairston left the game, and 44 points in the 24:02 after he was hurt.

What it means for UNC: A bounce back. After falling behind by as many as 28 points in their loss to NC State on Saturday, the Tar Heels were more active from the outset, diving for loose balls, building as much as an 18-point lead, then holding on. They are now 4-3 in ACC play, and pushed their record to 5-5 away from home.

“We feel very fortunate right now, we really do,’’ coach Roy Williams said after the game. “To go 7-for-13 from the 3-point line is good, but P.J. was 4-for-4, so that gives you a good start.”

Williams was also happier with his team’s rebounding; UNC won 33-25 on the boards.

What it means for BC: More learning for a freshman- and sophomore-laden team. Perhaps more frustration, too. It marked the fifth straight ACC loss for the Eagles, although three of its previous defeats during that stretch had been by five or fewer points. But this time, guard Joe Rahon -- averaging 10.4 ppg -- was held to four points; and teammate Lonnie Jackson -- shooting .568 from 3-point land in his previous seven games -- was 1-for-6 from beyond the arc.

Next up: UNC plays Virginia Tech at home on Saturday; Boston College plays Clemson at home the same day.

Numbers To Know: Wednesday recap

November, 29, 2012
Player of the Night – Mason Plumlee
Plumlee scored 21 points and tied a career-high with 17 rebounds as the Duke Blue Devils came back to defeat the Ohio State Buckeyes, 73-68. It’s his second 20-17 game of the season. Over the last 15 years, the only other major conference players with multiple 20-17 efforts before the end of November were Michael Beasley and Blake Griffin.

Over the past four seasons, the only other player with a 20-17 game against a top-five opponent was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist last season against Louisville. The last Duke player with a 20-17 game against a ranked opponent was Shelden Williams in 2004.

Scorer of the Night – Derrick Marks
Marks poured in a career-high 35 points, including 28 in the second half, as the Boise State Broncos upset the Creighton Bluejays, 83-70. During one stretch, he scored 18 straight points for the Broncos.

Creighton had won 42 straight home games in November, a streak that dated back to 1989. This was Boise State’s first road win over a ranked non-conference foe in school history.

Distributor of the Night – Larry Drew II
The UCLA Bruins needed some good news after a pair of transfers and an upset loss to Cal Poly. Drew helped deliver with 13 assists in an 82-56 win against the Cal State Northridge Matadors.

It’s the most assists in a game by a Bruin since Darren Collison had 15 in 2007. Drew fell three assists shy of Earl Watson’s school record set in 2000.

Stat Sheet Stuffer – Jamelle Hagins
The Delaware Fightin Blue Hens fell short of the Lafayette Leopards, 63-60, but Hagins finished with an eye-popping 18 points, 23 rebounds and five blocks. Over the past 15 seasons, only four other players have reached all three of those totals in a game: Cincinnati’s Kenyon Martin (1999), New Mexico State’s Chris Jackson (2003), Louisiana Tech’s Paul Millsap (2006) and Rider’s Jason Thompson (2008).

Freshman of the Night – Olivier Hanlan
Wednesday’s best performance by a freshman was probably Rasheed Sulaimon’s 17 points for Duke. But Hanlan had a more interesting game.

Hanlan went 15-19 from the line on his way to 22 points, as the Boston College Eagles beat the Penn State Nittany Lions, 73-61. That’s the most free throws for an ACC freshman in at least the past 15 years. The second-youngest power conference team, BC’s top six scorers are freshmen or sophomores.