CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - One would be wise to forgive the Conte Forum crowd of 3,286 Wednesday night for having but a glimmer of hope for a potential bid.
After all, after a three game stretch where the Eagles struggled to generate anything particularly competitive, the Conte faithful were finally given something to pique their hopes and dreams, with the Eagles showing signs of life, to a point where Boston College had a reasonable chance for an upset bid.
But, alas, the stars would not align in Chestnut Hill. Amid a couple of airballs and errant alley-oop attempts, the upset bid, at times quite literally, fell short. The Eagles did not pick up their first ACC win of the season, and the Eagles did not break a losing streak that has plagued the young team since the beginning of conference play.
All of this was the result of the Boston College Eagles falling to the Miami Hurricanes 67-53 Wednesday night.
"We cleared a lot of hurdles today," BC coach Jim Christian said. "But at the end I thought kind of blew ourselves up a little bit."
Upset bids are often formulated with a simple recipe: upstart team takes advantage of a slow start by powerhouse. To be fair, the Eagles' start was not particularly strong, taking seven of 12 turnovers in the first half in the first ten minutes of the game. Yet the Hurricanes were unable to convert on the 12 BC turnovers effectively, only converting to the tune of nine points off BC turnovers.
"We should have ended up with maybe 20 points off of those turnovers," Miami coach Jim Larrañaga said. "When we didn't do it, I was very concerned at halftime when it was a one point game."
Naturally, the one point differential at halftime was not just the fault of bad turnover conversion by the Hurricanes. The Eagles shot 52% from the field and were powered by eight first half points by Jerome Robinson. With Robinson's eight points, alongside some solid defensive play by the Eagles, BC was able to go into the locker room down by one.
Then the second half came calling.
Before we continue down the road to the second half, it is worth comparing this particular game to another game where Miami struggled against a Boston area team, the Northeastern Huskies. On Nov. 27, the Huskies were up 35-30 on the Hurricanes. Despite the Hurricanes outscoring the Huskies in the second half 47-43, Northeastern was able to pull away with the upset victory by scoring 50% from the field.
BC did not have such luck.
The Eagles were unable to generate anything offensively, only converting on 57.1% of their free throws, and perhaps more consequently, shot only 25.8% from the field.
Personifying the Eagles woes from the field was one Eli Carter. Carter, one should remember, came into Wednesday night's game on the heels of a 31 point performance in a 84-61 loss at Pittsburgh. Carter did not have a comparable performance Wednesday, going 4-for-18 from the field. Despite scoring 12 points, Carter struggled offensively.
"[Carter] is a guy that makes shots," Christian said. "He's a guy who could hit big shots. It wasn't like other guys were clamoring for the ball at that point. Jerome [Robinson] obviously had a great night. But Eli [Carter] goes 4-for-18, we're limited offensively to begin with. The shots he took [down the stretch] were not that bad, a couple rimmed out. Fifteen foot jump-shot coming off a ball screen, I thought it was a pretty good shot. He shot an airball, but it was a pretty good shot."
Despite the Eagles hanging around, the Hurricane onslaught was too much to handle, and the Eagles were not able to keep up offensively themselves. The upset bid would not come to fruition.
The Eagles travel to South Bend, Indiana to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Saturday afternoon. The Eagles will look to avenge an 82-54 loss on Jan 7.