Some say that basketball is a team sport. It's just that in the case of 2014-15 Boston College basketball, it's a team of two. Never has this been more clear than in this game. Guards Aaron Brown and Olivier Hanlan scored 59 of BC's 65 points, but it wasn't enough as the Eagles fell to Pittsburgh, 71-65.
Things looked like they would get out of hand earlier than expected, but a late BC run closed the gap before the first half. With 2:25 to play in the first half, the Eagles found themselves down 15, 35-20. But a 10-0 BC run to end the half, capped with an Olivier Hanlan three as time expired, cut the deficit to just five at half. Hanlan had 21 of the Eagles' 30 first half points, and all of three BC players found the scoring sheet:
Meanwhile BC is playing 1 on 5 pic.twitter.com/SVzdsLIY2m— Dan Lyons (@Dan_Lyons76) February 25, 2015
The Panthers had 17 points off 11 turnovers at the break after a pretty sloppy half of basketball from BC.
BC would close the gap early in the second half, tying the game at 35 a piece. But that's as close as they would get as Pitt slowly pulled away and kept BC at arm's length the rest of the game. Pitt's Jamel Artis, who was limited to just four points in the first meeting between these two earlier in the year, continued his torrid scoring pace of late. Artis lead all Panther scorers with 24 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Over the last 13 games, he's averaging over 19 points a game.
The story of the game for BC was yet another tremendous performance from Olivier Hanlan. The junior guard finished with 39 points on 10-of-20 shooting (5-of-12 from three), including a perfect (and #clutch) 14-of-14 from the free throw line. As the game wore on, and all despite playing with four fouls for good chunks of the second half, Hanlan simply took over, taking the ball to the hoop despite facing double- and triple-teams...and still finding a way to make the bucket.
BC's offense: 1. Cross halfcourt 2. Give the ball to Hanlan 3. ??? 4. Profit— BC Interruption (@bcinterruption) February 25, 2015
Of note, Hanlan's 39 points are the second-most scored by an opponent in the history of the Petersen Events Center, while his 14 made free-throws are the most ever for an opponent in Petersen Events Center history.
He's not going to win it, but the announcers kept pimping Hanlan for ACC Player of the Year consideration throughout the broadcast, and deservedly so. His 39 points, a season (but not career) high, were his fourth 30-point game in the last six outings. As Hanlan continues to score in buckets, I'm thinking it's more and more likely that this will be his last year. Just a shame he couldn't play for a better team.
The loss drops BC to 9-18 on the year; just 1-14 in ACC play. Pitt improves to 19-10 overall, 8-7 in ACC play and keeps their NCAA Tournament postseason hopes alive.
Next up for BC is a home game on Saturday against North Carolina State. The Wolfpack, about as bubblicious as Pitt is at the moment, are coming off a big 58-46 upset road victory over North Carolina earlier in the night.
Leave your thoughts on the game below. Go Eagles!