Jerome Robinson had never been to Madison Square Garden. The youngster from Raleigh, North Carolina was asked how did it feel to play basketball inside the World’s Most Famous Arena.
“It’s awesome, said Robinson. “You hear stories about it, but I’ve never been here. It’s a lot smaller than I thought, but it’s definitely a different kind of arena. I’ve been at other NBA arena’s but this one is definitely special.”
Robinson is a returning sophomore for Boston College, he’s loaded with potential and promise. Yes, those two dreaded words which begin with the letter P.
Boston College hasn’t had much talent to work with in recent years, proof of this can be found in the standings where the Eagles have set up residency near or at the bottom of the ACC conference.
Expectations for the Eagles this season are, once again, low. Head coach Jim Christian, in his fourth season, is trying to turn a program around while trying to stay afloat in a conference where five of the teams were ranked in the preseason Top 25.
There does seem to be a glimmer of hope for Boston College in the form of Robinson. He’s a 6’5 guard who can shoot the ball or put it on the floor and get to the basket. He also represents the one glaring sign of optimism the Eagles can build around.
Robinson went 8 for 18 from the field to finish with a team-high 23 points and lead Boston College to a 72-71 win over Auburn in a nail biter Monday night in the Under Armour Reunion at Madison Square Garden.
Freshman Nik Popovic scored on a tip-in with two-tenths of a second to play which put the Eagles ahead for good to secure the upset victory. It was the rebounding of Boston College, however, which proved to be a key component to their surprise win over Bruce Pearl’s Tigers.
The Eagles, led by a career-high 11 rebounds by Robinson, out-hustled Auburn on the glass to the tune of 49-32.
“The rebounding advantage was significant,” said Pearl after the game. ” I knew Boston College would be a good, physical team, and they won the game with offensive rebounds.”
Boston College’s determination on the boards took away from some of the uglier reminders of why they were picked to finish at the bottom of the ACC again. The Eagles turned it over 22 times against Auburn, 16 of those came in the first half. Robinson committed eight of those turnovers.
Rebounding demands hustle, hunger, and ambition. What Boston College can’t finish this season on overall talent, they’ll have to makeup for in effort and fight in a conference which is home to powerhouse programs like Duke, North Carolina, Syracuse, and Notre Dame.
Boston College will have to bring it every night, they’ll have to fight. That’s exactly what Christian saw in his youngsters Monday night, plenty of fight.
“I was so thankful that we had an opportunity to win and won, said Christian after the game. “But even without that I think we took a huge step forward. Even from an emotional standpoint of how to play together and fight and that’s what we did tonight, we fought.”
AJ Turner added 13 points on 5 of 10 shooting from the field for the Eagles. Robinson, along with Turner, won’t be enough to raise Boston College to the upper tier of the stacked ACC this season, but there’s enough promise there for fans at Chestnut Hill to begin feeling good about the bigger picture down the road.