The Eagles took care of business tonight with a 81-73 win over the Pioneers of Sacred Heart University. The Eagles kept it closer than anyone would have liked against a Northeast Conference opponent. Kenpom currently has Sacred Heart ranked lowest of any of BC’s opponents for the season, and they notched early losses to Holy Cross, Brown, and UMass Lowell. Still, BC held the Pioneers at arm’s length with a 10 to 15-point deficit for almost the entire game.
Despite some sloppy play and poor shooting, the Eagles took a lead in the first five minutes of play that they never relinquished. The tough defense that has been BC’s calling card in the last few games was on display at the outset tonight, and SHU appeared to be flustered by the Eagles’ presence on the boards and in passing lanes. They held the Pioneers to just 2 points through the first seven minutes and jumped out to a substantial lead, which Sacred Heart was only able to keep from getting out of hand with some well-timed threes. The Eagles forced eight first half turnovers, and Jairus Hamilton led the way with ten points and seven rebounds.
Wynston Tabbs came up big in the second half with 19 points in the period. He would lead all scorers a the end of the game with 28. Jim Christian was able to distribute minutes and give some substantial time to Vin Baker Jr., Johncarlos Reyes, and Jairus Hamilton off the bench. He elected to sit Jordan Chatman down a little more than usual, who had an off night with 1-6 shooting in 24 minutes. Bowman had another low scoring night, but was influential by running the offense and getting his teammates involved. Just when the game was about over, the Eagles a mini meltdown. They had difficulty breaking the Pioneer press and gave up some wide-open threes to allow Sacred Heart to cut the lead to 6 with under a minute to play. It was a little too late for the Pioneers, and strong free throw shooting kept the Eagles from another IUPUI-type disaster in the end.
Sandwiched between a big win over Minnesota earlier this week and another big OOC matchup with Providence on Tuesday, the Eagles were able to avoid a potential trap game tonight. BC improves to 6-1 and will play here at Conte on Tuesday night in a 7PM tipoff against regional rival Providence on ESPN2.