Skinner says consistency the key
|01.25.10 at 2:53 pm ET|
After getting blown out in three straight conference losses to Clemson, Duke and Maryland, Boston College offered a somewhat improved outlook last week with a comeback win against Miami and a narrow loss to Virginia Tech. BC coach Al Skinner said that his team’s renewed effort can be traced to a consistency that it did not have earlier in the season.
“We have had some injuries and some lineup changes, those type of things, and we lost a lot of games due to that,” Skinner said on Monday’s ACC basketball coaches teleconference. “We just didn’t have any consistency in our rotation and expectations. But now our effort has been more consistent.”
Skinner said that turnaround can be traced to the fact that his players understand their roles. He added that his players “have gotten together and just asked a little more of each other, and they are trusting each other and believing in each other.”
This consistency also has been evident in the play of second-year guard Reggie Jackson, who has averaged a team-high 15.5 points in ACC play. Jackson has rotated between a starting spot and the sixth-man role throughout the season, and he has played both guard spots. He has looked more comfortable as of late.
The upcoming game against visiting Clemson on Tuesday night, however, could pose problems for the Eagles. The Tigers won at home by 16 points in the first meeting of the teams on Jan. 9, and BC has lost four straight to Oliver Purnell’s club, all by double digits. Skinner said that his team’s ball-handling and half-court defense will play critical roles in the outcome of the game.
Purnell called the Eagles “a team that has been shown a lot of resilience with the comeback win at Miami and having as good a chance to win the game at Virginia Tech as we did at Georgia Tech.” The Tigers (15-5, 3-3) will have challenges of their own, as their point guard and second-leading scorer, Demontez Stitt, will sit this one out with a sprained foot as Clemson tries to break a two-game losing streak that caused them to get bounced from the AP Top 25 poll.
Despite a 2-4 conference record (11-9 overall), the Eagles could make a jump in the ACC standings on the three-game homestand that starts with Clemson. With games against Florida State (Saturday) and Duke (Feb. 6), it is certainly a tall order, but the parity in the league thus far gives Skinner’s team some hope.
“It sure is playing out that way,” Skinner said about the wide-open conference race. “It’s been really competitive; everybody has been winning. It just gives everybody a chance.”