For its second in-conference win in under two weeks, men’s basketball capitalized on an off-beat NC State team to win 74-66 in Chestnut Hill Wednesday night.
Although the game was a battle of tug-of-war down to the wire, for the first time in my two years watching BC basketball, I felt a rare confidence that the Eagles would hold steady and close out Conte Forum with the win.
Jim Christian’s team played with a nearly unrecognizable tenacity and fever, forcing 17 NC State turnovers throughout play. You could attribute the change in mentality to the surge in confidence resulting from the relatively close game the Eags had against Duke last Saturday in a mere 11-point loss. Or maybe it’s a sign of maturity developing within this young team.
“We did the things that you have to do to win the game. We went 18-19 from the line, only had four turnovers in the second half, and took care of the ball. If you do that, you’re gonna have a chance,” Christian pointedly asserted.
Once again, it was a showing between Ky Bowman and Jerome Robinson—who combined for 40 points in BC’s loss to Duke last Saturday. This time, the two guards teamed up for 43 total points.
Bowman demonstrated why he’s the leading scoring freshman in the ACC. He set the tempo for the game in getting the Eagles on the board first with a pair of three-pointers to put them up 8-2 early in the half. As soon as the freshman drew two fouls before the 10:00 mark, however, Robinson—his older counterpart—took over in the backcourt, going low on the baseline to post 12 points before halftime and keep BC in battle.
Down 29-26 with just under four in the half, BC then scored six of the last seven points in the first to take the lead to 34-32 going into the locker room. Notably, Connor Tava drained his first three as an Eagle to loft BC over the Wolfpack at half.
But, as if to intentionally delay any BC fans’ excited anticipation (in classic Eagle fashion), the maroon and gold came out slow in the second, allowing NC State to steal the lead at 45-41 at the first media timeout. But an AJ Turner layup in transition off of a steal at the 12:00 mark, pushing his team ahead 50-49, gave BC the surge necessary to retain the lead for the remainder of the game.
Ky Bowman then asserted the Eagles' territory off yet another steal in transition six minutes later, dunking the ball to lift BC to 65-59. Fittingly, Bowman later finalized the win in the last 30 seconds off another steal to win a second ACC game at home within a mere two weeks.
“You gotta win at home. I told our team we’re 2-0 (in-conference) at home…this is a very difficult league to win at home. And we’ve got to be with those teams if we want to have a chance to compete,” Christian stated.
BC will travel to Syracuse, NY on Saturday and attempt to top the Orange for a second time this calendar year.