Three pointers were the story of the first half. Jordan Chatman came out hot out of the gate from deep, scoring 12 of the first 15 points (with a Jairus Hamilton three thrown in for good measure). The Wolfpack responded, though, as Braxton Beverly responded with a long range barrage of his own, finishing the half with 15 points. The start forced Jim Christian to call a zone scheme, which the Eagles did not turn away from for the remainder of the game.
Ky Bowman, despite finishing with 16, did not score for the first 14 minutes of the first half. He facilitated the offense well though, assisting several buckets for Jared Hamilton, who finished with 16. Nik Popovic’s early foul trouble certainly hurt him, as without his primary screener he struggled to get to the basket early.
The Eagles really struggled against the pressure NC State brought against them. Full court and half court, the Pack hounded any Eagle ball carrier for the entire game, culminating in 18 total turnovers.
Boston College entered the second half trailing 46-37, a deficit which was maintained thanks to more turnovers and fast break points. But about midway through the half the Eagles burst back with a 16-0 run to give themselves a 67-64 lead. Smothering defense and excellent rebounding, courtesy of Steffon Mitchell (13 total rebounds) and the return of Popovic, were absolutely essential. Even more impressive was that they did it without the scoring bursts of Chatman, who left the game near the end of the first with a finger injury.
A close game developed into a dogfight in the paint. Beverly, so effective in the first, was held without a point after halftime. Popovic, in contrast, contributed all 18 of his points in the second.
The Eagles couldn’t close down the stretch, however. Mitchell contributed many clutch rebounds but fewer clutch free throws, and an inspired Wolfpack defense put the clamps down on Ky Bowman. With time winding down, tied at 73, Bowman’s three point attempt missed the mark. Then in overtime, the wheels all fell off the bus. NC State opened the period with a 7-0 run, and BC could neither grab an defensive rebound nor get a bucket to respond.
On one hand, it was a fun game that BC had a great shot to win. On the other hand, it’s another tough loss in a season of tough losses for BC, where the fans clamor for a win but get moral victories instead.