There was plenty of star power on display at Conte Forum Sunday night. First, there was the return of the Elite Eight team from the 1993-94 season. Second, the retiring of a Boston College great from that team as Billy Curley’s number was put to the rafters at halftime. Last but not least, a return visit from one of last season’s big-time players Jerome Robinson. He had time off due to the NBA All-Star break and came back to see his old team play.
The result was an Eagles (13-11, 4-8) win, 64-57 over Miami (11-14, 3-10) behind the play of senior Jordan Chatman. He got 17 points including point number one thousand in his BC career. They also got the fifth double-double and third in ACC play for junior Nic Popovic (15 points, 14 rebounds). The Eagles have now won two in a row for the first time this year.
On Sunday night, the win was made possible by the Eagles defense. They held Miami’s leading scorer, Chris Lykes, to ten points on three of fifteen shooting and zero of eight from three-point land. The ten points were seven below his average of seventeen per game. While the Hurricanes as a team shot 22-of-60 for 36.7 %. and were out-rebounded by nine 40-31. Boston College, on the other hand, shot 44.4% for the game and made 40% of their three-point shots (6-15).
The first half saw eight lead changes and three ties. Boston College led for fifteen minutes of it. Their biggest lead was at five, 21-16 on a fast-break layup by Chatman. Miami’s only lead of the first twenty minutes came at the 15:25 mark on an Anthony Lawrence (10 points) three-point make. The Eagles went to the locker room up four at 25-21. one disturbing stat was the eleven turnovers the Eagles committed. The other interesting number was no free throws taken by either team in the first half.
In the second half, Boston College began on an 8-2 run to take their first double-digit lead of the game at 33-23 on two free throws by Popovic. Then, Jared Hamilton took a fastball feed from Ky Bowman and took it to the basket for a fast break dunk. Boston College had themselves another ten point lead at 35-25 with seventeen minutes to play.
Boston College never trailed in the second half. The Hurricanes did make it interesting by cutting the lead to four on two separate occasions. The last being at 47-43 on a Zach Johnson fast break lay-in with six minutes to play. The Eagles were able to keep Miami at bay for the rest of the game and picked up a much-needed win.
After the game, Hurricane head coach Jim Larranaga talked about his team’s inability to make shots. He said, “his team seemed flat”. On Lykes’ tough night shooting the ball he said: “he tried to make adjustments at halftime but they did not work”.
Boston College head coach Jim Christian, talked about how pleased he was about his team’s defense the last two games. He said Sunday night’s performance was “fantastic”. Chatman talked about the way the team was able to hold Lykes below his average calling it a “team effort”. When asked about his injured index finger, which was hurt during the win over Pittsburgh, Jordan said it was “fine”.
Both Christian and Popovic also mentioned how this team has changed since the one that started the season. Injuries have played a key role in that change. The Eagles have had to make adjustments on the fly during the season. Playing in a difficult league like the ACC has not helped the necessary moves that have needed to be made. But dispute all that, this team is still alive and well and the coach credits that to their ability to “keep their head up and still play”.
Boston College now heads out on the road for the next two. First, is a stop at North Carolina State for a Wednesday night match up. The Hurricanes received fourteen points from Ebuka Izundu and ten points from Sam Waardenburg.