CHESTNUT HILL, Mass.,— If it feels like the story of Boston College’s 84-76 loss to the No. 25 Notre Dame Fighting Irish is familiar, that’s because it should be.
Like so many times before, the Eagles were in a competitive ballgame, with a chance to pull off an upset.
But like so many times before, the Eagles couldn’t string the proper plays together, and the Eagles fell 84-76 in front of a split crowd in Chestnut Hill.
“We are really fortunate to get out of here with a win,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “Boston College played fabulously, and in the first half we just could not guard them.”
The Eagles opened the first half strong, going 59% from the field, aided by a 17 point effort from Ky Bowman, en route to a 29 point performance. The performance was a stark contrast to the Eagles’ efforts last Saturday against Georgia Tech, where the Eagles were held to just 22 points in the first.
“We got Bowman going early,” BC coach Jim Christian said. “He’s a big part of us scoring— he didn’t take enough shots on Saturday. A lot of that was him, he wasn’t aggressive enough. He played a great floor game, and he makes a lot of good decisions, but unfortunately for our team, when other guys aren’t making shots, he’s gotta be more aggressive— not that he has to force shots, but he’s got to be more aggressive, and he came out aggressive today. I thought he was fantastic.”
Alongside Bowman’s efforts was a 90% effort from the stripe in the first half, and a strong three point performance (54.5%).
The second half, however, was a different story.
“I think the story was that we defended better in the second half,” Brey said. “[We] played a little zone, changed it up, and that changed their rhythm, and we made some big shots and big free throws.”
The Irish were able to slow down the Eagles onslaught, holding BC to just 33% from the field. Meanwhile, the Irish creeped back into the game, fueled by a 20-10 run to open the half. From there the Eagles were playing catch up, and were unable to draw even.
For the Eagles, the loss was the latest of a string of almost-wins in conference. For the Eagles, the remedy is simple:
“Make plays,” Christian said. “I hate to say it, but it comes down to making plays. We had opportunities to make plays, we gotta make them. We gotta get big stops, we gotta make plays, and we get opportunities to win the game, in the ACC, you’ve gotta make that play. We hesitate at that time, or [lack confidence] at that time, because we haven’t made them. If we can make plays, if those situations come up, we make them. That’s what they do. It’s a short answer to a complicated answer, but it’s the truth.”
The Eagles travel down to Florida on Presidents’ Day to take on the Florida State Seminoles.