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Boston College 72, Auburn 71: Observations From the Win

A look back at Monday’s big-time Eagles win at MSG

NCAA Basketball: Auburn vs Boston College Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles can play up to their competition

After losses to Hartford and Nicholls State earlier in the season, confidence in this year’s BC team wasn’t exactly sky high. But all that changed in a last-second win over Auburn, who before this game was a top-25 RPI team. The Eagles overcame turnover issues in this game to pull it out in the end behind double-digit point efforts from Jerome Robinson, A.J. Turner, and Ky Bowman, arguably their 3 most talented players. This game showed that despite the struggles BC has had, they do have the talent to compete with big-time programs. Bruce Pearl and the Tigers aren’t as good as the likes of top-level ACC teams, but the talent they have is certainly similar to some of the teams BC will be facing in conference play this year, and beating them was a step in the right direction.

Ky Bowman is the real deal

This was the Ky Bowman breakout game we’ve been waiting for. The stats were pretty good, with Bowman getting 15 points on 5-10 shooting (3-5 from three). But even more importantly Bowman took over at the end of the game as one of the real go-to guys for the Eagles. He didn’t make that layup at the end (that Popovic ended up tipping in), but he was trusted to tear down the court and take that shot because he’s become a huge part of this team already. His athleticism and skill both offensively and defensively are why he’s going to be a key player for this team going forward.

Robinson is a guaranteed 20 every night

Rinse. Lather. Repeat. Robinson put up a 23-point effort for the Eagles, once again leading the team in scoring. He’s even starting to get some national attention for his hot start to the season. It’s not even like he’s relying on the outside J for all his points either, as he only had one 3-pointer this game and got most of his points driving into the paint. He’s athletic, fast, talented, and isn’t selfish either, which makes for a great star player. He’s going to continue to score at will, so it’ll be the other guys who have to step up around him for BC to continue getting big-time wins this season.

This team can be fun to watch this year

Yeah, it may also be frustrating, like during a loss to Nicholls State or when they allow Hartford to keep it close and beat them in the end. But for them to go into Madison Square Garden in a nationally televised game against a major-conference opponent and get the win is promising. They’ve got the talent and athleticism in Robinson, Bowman, and Turner, as well as solid role players in Graves, Jeffers, Chatman, and Popovic, to do this at least a few more times this season, which is better than we can say for the last couple years.

The freshmen came to play

Nik Popovic is the probably the name most BC fans were talking about after this game. Another one of the new guys on the team, he came up so clutch at the end of this game and got the game winner for the Eagles. He, along with fellow freshman Ky Bowman and Ty Graves, are going to be fun to watch for the coming years.

Jim Christian shows confidence in team

After the game Christian said, “I felt like the program was moving forward today. You could just see it. I was thankful that we had an opportunity to win and won, but even without that, I think we took a huge step forward, just from an emotional standpoint of how to play together, and fight, and that’s what we did today, we fought.” Words can sometimes be empty and insignificant, but it’s certainly good to hear Christian have this sort of confidence in this young team. We’ll see if the Eagles can actually come through on this newfound high expectations, but a big win over Auburn has them feeling confident, at least until they play again.

Boston College will take on Sacred Heart on Sunday, December 18. We’ll see if they can build off the big Auburn win.