Final Score: Boston College 72, Miami 70
For the third time this year, Boston College welcomed a top 25 team into Conte Forum and handed them a loss. For a team that lost arguably its most important player only six games into the season, this team does not quit. They have consistently battled more talented teams and come back from deficits to make games close, in games they’ve won (Duke, Miami) and lost (Virginia Tech).
The first half of this one was straight up electric, as the teams combined for nearly 90 points. Ky Bowman led the way with 18 of his 24 coming in the first frame. However, in the second half, it appeared as though the Hurricanes were going to squeak out a close one. They gathered a lead late in the half and built it up to seven, 70-63 with just over four minutes to go in the game. However, that was as far as they were going to get, as the Eagles’ stingy defense kept the Hurricanes off the board for the remainder of regulation, finishing the game on a 9-0 run to win the game. They received some much needed help by a couple of bad turnovers, offensive fouls, missed layups, and a monster Steffon Mitchell block on a Lonnie Walker IV layup. On the other end, Jerome Robinson took over the game late in the second half. He’s shown all season that he deserves to be on the ACC First Team, and should receive some votes for ACC Player of the Year. If I had to guess, he finishes second behind Marvin Bagley III. He finished with a game-high 29, 18 of which came in the second half. Robinson’s offensive repertoire is so complete; he has a midrange game, finishes well around the rim, and can stretch it out to three point land (just ask Duke).
The Eagles need more consistency from their supporting cast. Nik Popovic, Jordan Chatman, and Steffon Mitchell have all had their shining moments this season, but too often they’ve disappeared, often when their team needs them the most. Mitchell is the best defender on the team, so he often gets a pass, as he should, offensively. However, Chatman needs to knock down his open looks. In BC’s losses this year, he is often cold from outside and does not provide the Eagles with a third piece to Bowman and Robinson. Popovic on the other hand deserves to be given a little more praise than he has been. He did a good job finishing on the inside today, finishing with 9 points on 4-8 shooting. The frustrating part with him is his lack of awareness on the court. He had six turnovers today, and he did not have the ball in his hands for that long. I’m assuming that six turnovers doesn’t even count the times a pass just sails through his hands.
Regardless, this was a hell of a win over a talented Miami team.
NCAA Tournament Outlook
Now at 5-7 in ACC play, the Eagles still have an outside chance of being a bubble team come Selection Sunday. The last six games on the schedule are at Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, at NC State, at Miami, Syracuse, and at Florida State. Although it will be very tough, going 4-2 in the last six and finishing at .500 in ACC play would be huge. Those wins would most likely come at Pitt, at home against ND and Syracuse, and one of Florida State or Miami. It’s a tough schedule, but it’s also manageable. While I personally do not think the Eagles will make the tournament, winning four of their final six and two in Brooklyn gives them a chance, and that’s a huge improvement. For the rest of the season, losses at UVA and losses at home to Virginia Tech and Clemson will be hard pills to swallow for BC fans who wanted to see their team playing in the Big Dance. Even worse, with Teddy Hawkins, I think BC probably wins all three of those games, and maybe a few others this year. Even so, this season has been nothing but exciting to watch, especially after last year. This team should be even better next year.