Well I guess one can only expect to beat the reigning national champions once in a season. After upsetting the Virginia Cavaliers in January, your Boston College Eagles fell to the Hoos by a score of 78- 65. Nik Popovic led the Eagles with 20 points, while 4 players posted double digits points for Virginia. The Cavaliers posted some of their best shooting splits of the year, hitting 57% of their field goals and 58% of their threes en route to just their second 70+ point performance of the season.
The game could not have gotten off to a worse start for the Eagles. After learning that Derryck Thornton would be out again with back issues, BC fans saw Steffon Mitchell be escorted off the court clutching his ribs on the second possession of the game. And though he eventually would return, it was clear that he was playing somewhere between hurt and injured.
On the court, it quickly devolved into a slugfest. Each team clearly intended to limit possessions, but lacked the shooting to put together a serious lead (at least for most of the half). Combined with solid defense by each side, who were both pressuring ball handlers up the court and succeeding in getting limbs into passing lanes, it was a recipe for a low scoring first half. Bad shot selection and indecisive passing also contributed. At one point, the teams played seven minutes without a stoppage in play, which pushed the 12 minute media break well past 12 minutes.
Credit went to the Eagles, however, who managed to keep it close despite shooting percentages in the mid 30’s. But then the dam finally broke for Virginia. The Cavaliers, who average just five threes per game, made seven in the first half and two in the last 53 seconds. BC trailed 35-23 entering the locker room
And then in the second half it just got worse. Forced to contend with a Virginia squad that could hit threes, BC spread out and was subsequently eviscerated by Kihei Clark and co.’s ball movement. By the time the Hoos’ lead hit double digits, this one felt like it was over (and that was pretty early on in the second half). The Eagles simply never had any offensive momentum to stage a comeback and were strangled. Slowly.
I’m not going to get into the free throws, which tilted in a 20-2 margin in favor of UVA (BC didn’t get its first and only free throws until over halfway into the second half). Yes it might have made a difference. But letting Virginia have their best offensive game of the year also made a difference.
The Eagles drop to 13-14 and will lick their wounds before taking on Clemson, who sits in the middle of the ACC with them. That game will hopefully be more entertaining