Boston College overcame an 8-point first half deficit and 0-19 shooting from beyond the arc in regulation to survive the New Hampshire Wildcats, 61-59 in overtime, on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles improve to 5-5 on the year and have now won 13 straight over UNH.
The win covered up an otherwise listless performance from the Eagles. BC came out flat in the first half, getting pushed around down low, giving up easy looks and second chance opportunities (9 offensive rebounds). Dennis Clifford's absence was felt in a big way as the Wildcats continually attacked the BC D with size down low in the post.
The Eagles ratcheted up the defense in the second half and were able to push the game to an extra session despite throwing up another 10 misses from range, many of them forced. Both BC and New Hampshire had plenty of opportunities to win the game in the final minute of regulation but the game's final 1:33 went without either team scoring. The Eagles were helped by two key blocks by Ryan Anderson and Patrick Heckmann, the latter a block that was close to being called a goaltend.
In the extra session, UNH jumped out to a 59-54 lead before Lonnie Jackson hit the Eagles first three pointer of the game (1-of-21) to cut the lead to two. With 50 seconds left, Olivier Hanlan drained the Eagles second three of the game to give BC the game-winning bucket.
Boston College's Ryan Anderson led all scorers with 23 points, 19 rebounds (8 on the offensive glass) and 3 blocks, none bigger than his third of the game with the game tied at 52 and 1:11 to play.
A win is a win, sure, and it's pretty remarkable that the Eagles overcame 0-19 shooting from range in regulation to win this game. Still, BC gave New Hampshire every opportunity to win this game. A UNH win would have made the Wildcats the latest in a long line of New England Division I-A teams to have knocked off the Eagles over the last 2-3 seasons. There was a time not too long ago when BC was one of the best men's basketball programs in New England. Now the Eagles need OT to outlast the UNH Wildcats to notch just their fourth win over a New England opponent in 12 tries.
With only three non-conference games remaining before ACC play starts up, it's clear there is plenty of work left to do for Donahue and the Eagles (and/or a magical healing walking boot for Dennis Clifford). The Boston College men have the week off before they host the Providence Friars on Saturday at 2 PM.