The 2018-2019 basketball season got off to an underwhelming start for the Eagles, with cold shooting and a double digit first half deficit in their opener with the Milwaukee Panthers. They were able to overcome the slow start with a ferocious second half that led to a 73-53 victory to open their season 1-0, fueled by big games from Ky Bomwan, Nik Popovic, and Wynston Tabbs.
The Panthers jumped out to a quick lead, capitalizing with transition scoring and some open threes. They led by as many as fourteen in the first half, before BC was able to pull back to within 10 at the half. Jim Christian cycled through several lineups in the opening minutes, trying to hit on an offensive spark. Reyes, Baker, and Kraljevic each got the quick hook, but freshmen Jairus Hamilton and Chris Herren Jr. were able to contribute some solid minutes. Wynston Tabbs, who got the starting nod tonight in a three guard lineup, had some impressive moves to the basket. The real difference of the half was BC being absolutely ice cold from the three-point line. Jairus Hamilton connected on one for his first career field goal, but the team went just 10% on ten attempts. Milwaukee, meanwhile, went 60% on their ten attempts in the first half.
Whatever happened in the locker room at halftime seemed to wake the team up. They came out absolutely firing in the opening minutes of the second half. After a Milwaukee three in the opening possession, the Eagles scored the next 14 in a row, taking the lead in less than five minutes of play. The shot making was pivotal on both ends, allowing BC to set up on defense rather than getting burned in transition, and they held the Panthers to just 13.2% in the second half.
Ky Bowman, Steffon Mitchell, and Nik Popovic all played well, particularly in the second half. Popovic dominated the glass and Mitchell was a defensive menace. Bowman, as usual, filled up the box score with 19 points and 8 rebounds, drawing a standing ovation when he was removed from the game in the final minute. The freshmen, however, were the real story. Tabbs shone especially bright, notching 16 points on 6-11 shooting in his debut. Hamilton showed ACC size and athleticism, picking up 8 points and 7 rebounds. Herren’s solid five minutes of play showed that Jim Christian may have three freshmen ready to contribute.
The Eagles next play on Sunday afternoon at 1PM in Conte Forum, where they will take on St. Francis Brooklyn in the opening game of the Fort Myers Tip-off Tournament.