Last season, Boston College was humiliated by Hartford. Will history repeat itself?
Spoiler Alert: Boston College was defeated by Hartford last year. It was not good. Some say it was lowest moment in BC basketball history, others say it was just growing pains for a young BC squad. Either way, the Eagles have a must-win game at Chase Arena. On December 2nd, the Eagles will travel to Hartford. Their biggest enemy: themselves. We preview the game below.
This will be part 5 of our non-conference season previews--find parts 1-4 below!
Hartford-Dec. 2 (Saturday)-Chase Arena
16-17 Record: 9-23 (4-12 in AEC)
Postseason: Lost in 1st Round of AEC Tournament
Biggest Win: Defeated Boston College (9-23) 65-63 Dec 9
Worst Loss: Lost to Maine (7-25) 52-41 Feb. 9
Power Five Record: 1-1 (Defeated Boston College, Lost to Rutgers)
Top Returning Scorer: Jason Dunne, Jr., G, 13.7 ppg
Biggest Departure: Jalen Ross, G, 19.9 pgg (Graduated)
New Arrival: Petr Stepanyants, 6-9, F, Russia
In what was probably the lowest moment of the season for the Eagles, the 2-8 Harford Hawks--with losses to bad teams in Central Connecticut State, Rider, Rutgers, and Quinnipiac--came into Conte Forum and defeated Boston College 65-63. In a game where BC shot 34% from the field, the Eagles trailed by as as many as 11 in the second half, but ultimately made a run to take a 63-62 lead with 13 seconds left. However, whether by a stroke of fate or skill, sophomore guard Jason Dunne buried a three with 2.1 seconds left to lift the Hawks over the Eagles 65-63. In what was one of the worst losses in program history--Robinson, Ty Graves, Tava, and Chatman shot a combined 9-36--and the Eagles had sunk to a new low.
After the loss, alumni were calling for change, and depression plagued the fanbase.
To say the least, this was a tough look for the program.
In 2016-17, Hartford was one of the worst offensive teams in Division 1, shooting just 40.2% for the year on a sad 66.8 points per game. In conference play, the offense was even worse, as the Hawks shot a miserable 37.5% from the field--worst in the conference--losing by an average margin of 12.2 points to teams like Albany, Maine, Stony Brook, and UMBC. Statistically, Harford was below average in every category except for steals, where the Hawks averaged 7.1 takeaways per game.
On paper, this should be another easy win for Boston College, but I’m hesitant to call this one a gimme. Firstly, Hartford has proven they can beat BC, so expect them to play this game confidently. Jason Dunne, Hartford’s best player, lit the Eagles up for 25 points last year, including five triples--and he will be looking to repeat that success. Secondly, the Eagles are pretty awful in road games--they haven’t won a true road game since March 2015.
There is no reason BC should not win this game by 10+ points. However, if they psych themselves out mentally, and the scars from last year's loss still remain, the Hawks could have the emotional edge in this one. This game is the ultimate mental test for a young BC squad. If they want any chance to be competitive in the ACC, they have to prove to themselves they can take down a "rival" on the road. I'm not sure if last year's loss haunts the players like it haunts the fans, but I am not hesitating to call this game a must-win. BC is a better team in every aspect, but something about this Hartford team still has me afraid.
Godspeed Eagles, Godspeed.
Difficulty: 4.5/10 (10/10 in our hearts)