In some ways, Sunday's game will be a homecoming of sorts for the Boston College Eagles, specifically the Eagles' sophomore class -- led by Ryan Anderson, Dennis Clifford and Patrick Heckmann.
It was roughly one year ago that Anderson, Clifford and Heckmann stepped onto a college court for their very first game against the New Hampshire Wildcats -- the same team the Eagles will host on Sunday afternoon.
The last time the Eagles and Wildcats met, it was a narrow victory for host Boston College, 67-64, in a game that made some think BC had a star in the making in Heckmann. On 6-of-16 shooting, Heckmann led the Eagles with 19 points and collected eight rebounds. Anderson posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards while Clifford had 10 points and seven rebounds.
It wasn't anything special, but it was a good start for that freshman class.
One year later, plenty of questions still remain about that same trio of stars. Heckmann started well in 2011, but never took that next step in his game and regressed as the year moved on. Anderson made the ACC All-Freshman Team and has played well in spurts this year, but consistency is starting to become an issue. Clifford never really put it together last year and an ankle injury has kept him sidelined for a portion of this season. Unfortunately for BC, if they want to compete, they'll need those three players to be healthy and always improving.
Alas, that has not happened in 2012-13. Boston College owns a mediocre 4-5 record through nine games and has dropped five of its last six. Bad losses to Bryant and a blowout delivered by Harvard have made some question the direction of the program, but it hasn't bottomed out just yet. The Eagles won their last game, 72-64, against St. Francis of Brooklyn, with Heckmann leading the team with 18 points. BC shot 44.6 percent and forced 18 turnovers.
Anderson has been the Eagles' leading scorer and rebounder thus far, but could have far superior totals had he not suffered an ankle injury that set him back several weeks. Still, he's averaging 14.3 points and 8.9 boards. Freshman guards Olivier Hanlan and Joe Rahon have been welcome additions for BC, averaging 12.7 points and 3.2 boards and 11.2 points and a team-leading 4.0 assists, respectively. Heckmann, who has come off the bench and started, is scoring 8.9 points per game and is shooting an impressive 52.2 percent from the floor.
Fortunately for BC, New Hampshire hasn't fared any better. The Wildcats are also 4-5 and have dropped five out of seven games. Most recently, UNH beat Yale, 64-56, thanks in part to Ferg Myricks' career-high 24 points and 11 rebounds. Myrick leads the Wildcats in scoring (15.1 PPG) and is second in rebounding (7.3 RPG). Patrick Konan and Chris Pelcher both average 12.7 points, with Pelcher also averaging a team-leading 7.6 boards. Chandler Rhoads is the final double-digit scorer for UNH, averaging 10.9 points.
Boston College has never lost to New Hampshire at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, MA, the site of Sunday's game. BC leads the all-time series, 23-6, and has won 12 straight against UNH. The last victory for the Wildcats came on Dec. 1, 1986 (51-49). Tip off is at 1 p.m. ET and the game will air on NESN and WEEI.
New Hampshire Wildcats
@ Boston College Eagles
Sunday, Dec 16, 2012, 1:00 PM EST
Silvio O. Conte Forum
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