College basketball is back and so too is the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Boston College Eagles took care of both in one fell swoop. For the sixth straight season, and 31 out of 33 years the Eagles begin their year at home. For the sixth straight season, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons started on the road. They had lost the previous five and if the first half was any indication, it was to be six-for-six. BC basketball got the win over Wake, 77-70.
That’s because the Eagles came out playing ball. After getting off to a 2-for-7 start, BC started taking the ball to the basket with positive results. It resulted in ten fast break points, eighteen in the paint, and maybe the best stat of them all, only one turnover. That was a team turnover. Compare that to the Demon Deacons who turned the ball over ten times, shot 3-of-10 from deep and also started the game 2-for-7. Boston College maintained the lead for fourteen of the twenty first-half minutes and took a 42-27 lead with them to the locker room. If there was a negative, it would be Sophmore forward Jairus Hamilton leaving the game seven minutes in with an apparent knee injury. In the second half, he was joined by his brother Jared Hamilton. They both were in the training room after the game.
It looked like the Eagles were poised to blow Wake out of the building. Nik Popovic dropped a three (19 points) to give the Eagles a seventeen point lead at 51-34 with 15:51 to play. Wake did not go away as they would outscore the Eagles 43-35 in the second half. As their head coach Danny Manning said after the game “we did a much better job at the defensive end.” What also gave the Demon Deacons a lift was better play from one of the team’s better players, Brandon Childres,s who struggled in the first half (0-for-5, 0-for-3 from deep). He would heat up in the second half and keep his team in the game finishing with 24 points and 7 assists. Another player who stepped up in the second half for Wake was Isaiah Mucius (18 points). His jump shot with nine minutes to play cut the Eagles lead to under ten at 57-48. It would get to seven when Chaundee Brown hit a jumper with two minutes left to make it a 67-60 BC lead.
Boston College hit its free throws in the final minutes to seal the win and get their season off on the right track. Head Coach Jim Christian was very happy with “his team taking care of the ball.” They had just seven turnovers for the game forcing 17 turnovers on Wake and getting eighteen points off of them. What the coach was not happy with, was giving up thirteen-second chance points. As he said afterward “we needed to keep it under ten.”
Another positive sign for Boston College was the play of two of the freshman who not only played their first game, but it was their first conference game as well. Jay Heath (18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists) and Derryck Thornton (23 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists). For Boston College to have a winning year, everyone will half to play well. The Coach called it “our ticket.”
Coach Manning singled out Ody Oguama who came off the Demon Deacons bench and put up 10 points and seven rebounds. His coach called his game outstanding.
BC heads out on the road for the first time Sunday at South Florida.
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