The Boston College Eagles (2-0, 0-0 ACC) dominated the South Carolina State Bulldogs (0-2, 0-0 MEAC) by a final score of 91 to 52. The Eagles finished with three players in double figures and outrebounded the Bulldogs 26 to 14.
Ky Bowman opened up the game with a beautiful pick-and-roll with Nik Popovic, reminding us all how great guard’s game can be. The Bulldogs quickly responded with a three-pointer, and for the first minute or two it looked like this could be a game. But then it began to rain threes. Boston College opened up the game 6-7 from downtown, highlighted by Jordan Chatman’s perfect three-for-three-on-threes. The Eagles finished the first half 7-14 from beyond the arc, but by the time they had cooled down the damage had already been done. They rushed out to a 26-10 lead and it only got worse from there
Defensively, after a soft first few minutes, the Eagles locked down on SC State and never allowed the Bulldogs to find an offensive rhythm. BC held their opponent to just 32% shooting and 23% from three. Popovic and Deontae Hawkins dominated the glass against a physically inferior team. Hawkins, coming off a 15 rebound performance against Maine, had another double digit performance with 11. Popovic ended the game with 9 total, 5 of them offensive. To some extent this is attributable to BC’s size advantage, but the Eagles did what they were supposed to do coming into this game: win, and do so physically.
The player of the game, no doubt, was Steffon Mitchell. Coming into the season the hype for the freshman was largely based on his potential rebounding and defensive contributions. And he certainly showed that in this game, ending with six offensive rebounds and three steals. His ability to defend the 3-5 seems like it could translate over to ACC play, which is encouraging. But the highlight of his game today was on the offensive end, where he ended up with 21 points on an efficient 7-9 shooting (3-3 3pt). He drove, he finished, he shot. He did everything, and hopefully it offers an exciting glimpse into the future.
The deep parts of the Eagle bench also saw a great deal of playing time. Avery Wilson, a freshman guard from Forest Park, Georgia, saw his career first playing time and points for the Eagles. Vin Baker Jr, Ervins Meznieks, and Luka Kraljevic also got considerable minutes, playing nearly the entire final ten minutes of the game. By the last few minutes, Jim Christian had put out an entirely walk on squad. A few of the players were even missing name plates from their jerseys! The Eagles will very likely not see a lot of wins as comfortable as this, so it is always nice to see the full team get some play time.
At the end of the day, only so much can be taken away from a BC win over a clearly overmatched SC State team. Perhaps the best thing to take away, though, is that Coach Christian and the Eagles are doing something that they haven’t been able to do in the past: easily beat the teams they should.
More important than the result of the game: Ky Bowman’s hair is back to its signature red and I couldn’t be happier.