BC played its best basketball of the season tonight to beat last year’s NCAA tournament Cinderella, Loyola Chicago, in convincing fashion to win the Ft. Myers Tip-off Tournament. The most impressive stretch came when the Eagle’s preseason All-ACC point guard sat down in the first half. After nine minutes of play, Ky Bowman made contact with contact with Clayton Custer’s head while going up to defend a layup and was hit with a flagrant foul. That was Bowman’s second foul and he headed to the bench where he would stay for the rest of the half. Unbelievably, the rest of the team stepped up to stretch the lead from one to ten over the next 11 minutes. The key was commitment to man defense that held the Ramblers to 33% shooting and great ball movement on offense. Chris Herren contributed a pair of threes and a block, Wynston Tabbs added five points and five rebounds, and Jairus Hamilton had a few dazzling drives on his way to nine points during the stretch.
Bowman returned to the party in the second half and the Eagles offense kept rolling. Jordan Chatman found the shot he’d been missing the past few games and went 7-13 for 20 points. While Bowman was still the best player on the court, the team showed that they could be successful without him and that he was not the only scoring option when he came back. The team successfully withstood the second half push from Loyola, never letting the lead dip under 5. They were able to play ten players, with no one playing the entire game, which allowed for more prolonged intensity on defense.
This team is playing with confidence, and Christian is starting to find success in surprising places with key contributions from Herren Jr., Reyes, and even Avery Wilson. It will be interesting to see if his squad can carry this momentum over into some tough upcoming non-conference games against Minnesota, Providence, and Texas A&M. For now, this team looks like it could be exciting. They are back in Conte Monday night to take on Minnesota in the Big 10-ACC Challenge.