As bad as this basketball season has been at some points—and it has been pretty bad— tonight was a nice change in pace. Albeit a 62-61 loss, BC’s effort against No. 4 Duke gave SuperFans something to cheer for in the doldrums of winter. Locked in the confines of the dorms after a massive blizzard shook the Northeast over the weekend, the BC faithful had a chance to blow off some steam, and blow off steam they did.
After a rousing first half with BC shooting 40 percent from the three-point line and freshman guard Olivier Hanlan racking in 10 points, the Eagles were tied with Duke, 27-27. Pondering the possibility of an upset in their minds, many BC SuperFans—a term to be used lightly—decided not to retreat to Bapst or O’Neill and finish off any work.
Instead, they stayed for what ended up being a true college hoops thriller.
Down by six at one point mid-way through the second half, it looked like BC was ready to submit to its superior ACC foe. After all, it is wildly usual for a young, 10-13 Eagles squad to pack it in and essentially give up. They lost by double-digits to teams like UNC and Miami in the past month.
They showed nothing but fight and determination tonight, though, and it paid off remarkably.
Conte Forum nearly exploded after sophomore Eddie Odio’s gargantuan dunk over Tyler Thornton put the Eagles within one point with 7:35 to go in the second half.
Seriously, look at this dunk and cue the SportsCenter jingle:
Hustle-filled play after another, Ryan Anderson and Olivier Hanlan helped BC to climb back into contention. The duo combined for 37 points and ten boards.
A healthy injection of excitement and a blunt reminder that college basketball defines parity, tonight’s game left many wishing that this crazed bout of David and Goliath ended like it should have. BC had the heart and the shooting percentage to show for it. Duke, well, was Duke.
BC led the Blue Devils 61-56 with 2:15 to play when Quinn Cook hit a massive three. SuperFans throughout Conte had already begun to stage a storming of the court, but Cook’s three was an unwelcomed forewarning of what was to come.
Sure enough, BC could not convert its offensive opportunities with a minute to go. Duke’s Mason Plumlee, a future first-round draft pick, converted on three of his four free-throws to make it 62-61 Duke with 16 seconds to spare.
BC head coach Steve Donahue put the ball in Olivier Hanlan’s hands in the waning seconds of the game, but the freshman guard could not get the right look. The ball bounced off the right side of the backboard and Duke neutralized any threat of a put-back layup to secure its 18th consecutive win against a non-Top 25 team.
At the second the ball released from Hanlan’s grip, those who had joked over the thought of BC upsetting Duke shut their mouths and joined the student section. If it went in, Conte would have erupted with passion and pandemonium. A storming of the court and a Mod celebration would have ensued.
Unfortunately, as if it was never meant to be, the ball clunked off the boards and the game was over.
Why can’t there be more of this on the Heights? It was a heart-breaking finish, but many would take it over a double-digit blowout to an average UNC team any day of the week. Nothing breaks up the monotony of mid-winter midterms more than a glorious win over basketball’s finest.
At least the Beanpot championship is tomorrow.