There is nothing like a little ACC college basketball to take the chill out of a bitterly cold afternoon. Boston College and Wake Forest tried to do just that on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles prevailed base on all five starters finishing double-figures to give them win number two in league play 77-71 over Wake Forest.
After the game Wake’s head coach, Danny Manning said that the game plan going into this one “was to wear BC starters down”. Sounds like that idea just did not work. Despite the heavy minutes that the Eagles starters log on a nightly basis they produced. Saturday was no different.
It also helps when you are good at the free throw line and BC was 26-35 for the game and 17-23 in the second half alone. Yeah, it pays to knock down your freebies. The Eagles were good on the defensive end as well with nine blocks shots for the game. Steffon Mitchell had four of them to go along with 17 points and afterward, Mitchell said: ” he has always been a good defender.
This game was won by being aggressive and that’s what the Eagles were all game long. Jerome. Robinson had 25 points and was a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line. He later said “going to the basket was a key”. Head Coach Jim Christian chimed in that before the game he put on the board his team needed to get to the line at least 15 times to have a chance, they did.
The first half saw BC jump out early, scoring seven of the first nine points of the game and Mitchell had five of those seven points. Wake’s shooting at the start was as cold as the weather outside, shooting only 14% to start the game. However, they would start to heat up behind Guard Chaundee Brown who dropped 11 early points on his way to 14 for the half, and 20 for the game. His hot shooting allowed Wake to keep the lead most of the first twenty minutes.
After BC’s quick first-half advantage, it would not be until 7:17 left in the half before they would be even with the Demon Deacons. A Ky Bowman three tied the game at 23 apiece. Bowman finished with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds, his third double-double of the season.
The Eagles would tie the game once more before halftime, this time it was a three from Jordan Chapman, that knotted the game at 28 all. BC would go on a mini-run of 7-0 to give themselves a five-point lead at 35-30 with Robinson leading the way with a three-point play. Wake finished the half by scoring the last five points on a three by Brown, then a tip-in from Donovan Mitchell to end the first half 35-35.
In the second half, BC finally pulled away getting their first ten point lead on a pair of Robinson free throws. It was part if a 17-6 run that featured the highlight of the game, courtesy of Bowman. After stealing the ball, he raced down court and gave a reverse dunk. It brought the crowd to their feet and comfortably put BC ahead.
What could have been an easy finish turned into a bit of a struggle. With the Eagles up nine at 68-59, back to back makes from deep from Crawford cut the lead to six at 68-62. BC was hitting free throws while Wake was knocking down shots from deep to keep the game alive at 73-68. In the end, the free throw shooting of the home team carried them to a much-needed win.
Contributing for the Eagles, Nik Popovic with 10 and Chapman with 12. For Wake, Bryant Crawford had game-high honors with 24, and Mitchell Willbekin finished with 11.
The road does not get any easier for the Eagles as they head to Chapel Hill to see the defending National Champion North Carolina Tar Heels. The Eagles are 2-2 in league play and 11-5 overall. Wake is 8-7, 1-2 in conference play.