PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Boston College’s late rally came up short, dropping a 74-72 decision at Pitt. The loss is the fourth straight for the BC Eagles.
BC trailed 65-55 with 4:22 remaining before starting a 13-6 push over the next three-plus minutes. A Steffon Mitchell jumper with 1:07 remaining made it a three-point game – 71-68. The Eagles’ pressure forced two turnovers with 31 seconds remaining. Derryck Thornton’s swipe and a layup with 27 ticks left and Jairus Hamilton’s interception of the ensuing inbounds pass led to the game-tying layup by Thornton with 12 seconds to go.
Pitt would break the pressure on the next inbounds play, as Ryan Murphy drilled the game-winner with just under four seconds to play.
The Panthers erased a 14-point BC lead, scoring 17 straight points to take a 38-35 lead with 15:35 to play. Thornton and Jay Heath would connect on back-to-back 3-pointers as BC took a 45-44 lead with 11:45 to play. But Pitt would respond, outscoring the Eagles 21-10 over the next four-plus minutes to take its largest lead of the night – 65-55 with 4:22 to go.
BC made 3-of-4 shots to start the game, taking a 7-5 lead at the first media break. Mitchell had five of the seven points, while Nik Popovic returned to the floor after a nine-game absence to connect on his first FG attempt.
After leading 12-11 with 9:45 to go in the half, the Eagles went on a 9-0 run, connecting on three straight 3-pointers – two from Heath and another from Julian Rishwain. Pitt called for the 30 timeout trailing, 21-11.
After BC went without a field goal for close to four minutes, Rishwain connected from long-range again, to give BC a 31-19 lead with 3:59 to go in the period. The Eagles led by as many as 14 – 33-19 – before Pittsburgh closed the half with nine unanswered, cutting into the Eagles’ lead at the break – 33-28.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
- BC had five players in double figures for the first time all season.
- Jay Heath led the Eagles with 16 points, connecting on 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. He added two boards and three assists.
- Jairus Hamilton and Derryck Thornton each had 13 points.
- Hamilton was 6-for-6 from the floor while grabbing six boards in 32 minutes of play.
- Thornton dished out a season-high seven assists to go with three boards and two steals.
- Steffon Mitchell scored 12 points, making 3-of-6 shots (2-5 3FG).
- Nik Popovic returned to the lineup after missing the previous nine games. The senior scored 12 points.
- Julian Rishwain made 2-of-3 from the perimeter while dishing out three assists and grabbing two boards off the bench.
- CJ Felder added six rebounds.
- BC shot 48.1% (25-52) from the floor, including 10-of-24 from the perimeter.
- The Eagles connected on 12-of-13 from the charity stripe – good for a season-best 92.3%.
- Pitt outrebounded BC, 31-26.
STAT OF THE GAME:
- -22; +9 – BC was outscored, 44-22, in points in the paint; but held a 21-12 advantage in points off turnovers
FOR THE ANALYTICS CROWD:
- Jairus Hamilton led four Eagles in double-figure efficiency rating, with an 18.
- Jay Heath, Derryck Thornton, and Steffon Mitchell each registered a 14 EFF rating.
- Efficiency rating is calculated using the following formula: (PTS + REB + AST + STL + BLK – Missed Shots – TO)
- Boston College returns to Conte Forum on Saturday, Jan. 25 when it hosts Virginia Tech.
- Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. and the game will air live on ESPNU. Jay Alter and Dalen Cuff with have the call.
- Former All-American and all-time leading scorer Troy Bell will have his jersey retired in a halftime ceremony.
- The game can also be heard live on the Boston College Learfield IMG College Sports Network with Josh Maurer and Danya Abrams on WEEI 850 AM.