Syracuse will look to move to 4-0 in ACC play when they travel up to Massachusetts to take on Boston College:
CLIFFORD RETURNS: Boston College was supposed to take the next step forward in head coach Steve Donahue’s fourth season with the Eagles. Last year, BC certainly showed signs of life, finishing 16-17, including a respectable 7-11 in ACC play that saw them close the 2012-13 season with three straight wins and move on to the second round in the ACC tournament. But the optimism from the late season surge has faded quickly, with the Eagles losing seven of eight games between Dec. 4 and Jan. 4.
Still, there is hope in Chestnut Hill with the return of 7-footer Dennis Clifford. Clifford missed the entire non-conference schedule after recovering from offseason knee surgery, but has played in BC’s last two games, including a 62-59 win over Virginia Tech on Saturday, the team’s first ACC win this year. Clifford’s 6 points and 6 rebounds in 21 minutes may not have wowed on the stat sheet, but his presence allowed 6-8 forward Ryan Anderson to slide back to forward where he grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. Clifford may still redshirt the remainder of the season, but for the time being, BC has a big body to protect the rim against the long arms of the Orange. Still, if you look at college basketball odds at Topbet.eu, the Orange will be a 9 point favorite.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES: Junior guard Lonnie Jackson has only averaged 5.4 points per game this season, but led the way in the win over Virginia Tech, nailing what turned out to be the game-winning 3 with 27 seconds left. He finished with 17 points, and appears to have fully recovered from a hamstring injury that cost him three games earlier in the year. The previously mentioned Anderson has formed a potent one-two offensive punch with sophomore guard Olivier Hanlan. The duo average nearly 35 points a game, which is nearly half of the 70.8 points the Eagles average per game.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Syracuse leads the all-time series 40-23, but Boston College won the last meeting between these two teams when they were members of the Big East conference. The Eagles eliminated the Orange in the 2004 Big East tournament, 57-54. Gerry McNamara led SU with 15 points, though he missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer with 6.1 seconds left.
GAME INFORMATION: Monday, Jan. 13 at 9:00 p.m. at Conte Forum in Boston, Mass. TV: ESPNU.