Boston College Men’s Basketball (3-9, 1-5 ACC) notched its first conference win of the season Tuesday night, blowing out the University of Miami (5-6, 1-5 ACC) 84-62 at home.
The win comes in the wake of a rocky start to the season, as the Eagles lost each of their first nine games against teams from major conferences.
The game was a back-and-forth contest early on, with the two teams trading baskets for the first two minutes.
Yet these were the only competitive minutes of the game. BC led for the rest of the game and led by double digits for the entire second half.
Rich Kelly continued to increase his role in the Eagles offense, scoring a game-high 27 points. He knocked down seven of his 12 attempts from behind the arc and dished out four assists in what could be considered a breakout performance for the transfer from Quinnipiac.
Kelly has now set season-highs in points in two of his last three games following his 16 points against Duke last week.
Kelly wasn’t the Eagles’ lone dominant scorer in the game.
Jay Heath is slowly establishing himself as a focal point for Boston College’s offense, dropping 25 points on the Hurricanes. This was Heath’s sixth game of the season scoring more than 15 points, on good efficiency nonetheless.
Potentially even more impressive is his ability to fill up the rest of the stat sheet. Along with his points, Heath’s seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals were all season-highs.
The perimeter shooting of Steffon Mitchell came as a welcome surprise, with the senior center knocking down three of his four three-point shots. Mitchell’s biggest strength is his ability to positively impact his team on both sides of the ball, whether it be rebounding, defending, or playmaking.
He profiles as this team’s version of Draymond Green; yet also like Green, he has struggled to consistently contribute points for his team, especially when it comes to spacing the floor with jump shots.
While Mitchell might not make three three-pointers again in his collegiate career, if he can knock down even a third of his threes, the paint opens up for Heath and Kelly to drive to the hoop, giving the Eagles a much more potent offense.
Also surprising was BC’s ability to defend Miami on the perimeter.
BC has struggled to prevent its opponents from knocking down threes for most of Head Coach Jim Christian’s tenure, but the team held Miami to only 12.5% from deep. Some of the blame can be placed upon Miami’s generally poor shooting ability, as they have made just over a quarter of their shots on the season, but still holding them to half their typical efficiency can’t be disregarded.
Passing the ball effectively may have been the biggest deciding factor of the game.
Miami played selfishly and carelessly, with only four players tallying even one assist. The Hurricanes had fewer assists than they did turnovers.
The Eagles, on the other hand, tallied twice as many assists as they did turnovers. Rich Kelly, Jay Heath, and Demarr Langford all finished the game with more assists than Miami’s assist leader.
Boston College’s win still only puts the team at 12th in the ACC, and with three of the next five games coming against teams ranked within the Top 20 of the AP poll, BC is unlikely to find itself climbing the standings any time soon.
The Eagles have an opportunity to secure a win in their next game against last-place Notre Dame (3-8, 0-5 ACC) Saturday. The game is in South Bend, but the Irish are still winless in conference, so the Eagles will look to avoid being their first.
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