In search of a much-needed win, Boston College men’s basketball welcomed fellow ACC bottom feeder Wake Forest to Conte Forum on Wednesday night.
The Eagles entered the affair with only one conference win, while the Demon Deacons have recorded two ACC wins.
The battle for last place did not go as planned for the Eagles, as the Demon Deacons came away with the 69-65 win despite a last-second comeback charge from BC.
With six scholarship players on the roster, Jim Christian once again had his hands tied when filling out the rotation. In addition to the six, forward Andrew Kenny stepped up to provide minutes.
Neither team could get much offense going in the first half, but Wake Forest did show more hustle rebounding and getting loose balls, which translated into good offensive looks.
While it remained close in the opening six minutes, the Demon Deacons pulled out to the largest lead of the first half at eight with around nine minutes to go. Scoring was spread out too, with Ian DuBose and Josh Antonio hitting a few transition shots.
The Eagles got close, but never took the lead in the first half. Most of their points came on transition or off turnovers.
The half ended with a score of 30-22. The Eagles have scored less than 30 points in their last three games at halftime, as their rust is clearly showing in returning since their COVID-19 absence.
The Eagles looked a lot better in the second half, with much-improved defense in the post and more spread out scoring on offense as well.
They got hot enough to go on a 15-2 run thanks to stellar play from Jay Heath and CJ Felder, who both put up a couple of threes to close the gap to as little as one with two minutes to go, bringing the lead down to 63-62.
However, that was the closest the Eagles would get on Wednesday night.
Jay Heath took two threes that clanged off the rim instead of trying his luck inside the paint. Still, there were a couple more missed opportunities across the BC team, allowing Wake Forest to hang on for the 69-65 lead.
The Demon Deacons’ dominance on the boards factored into their win in a major way. They out-rebounded the Eagles by 18 (52 to 34), amassing 40 defensive rebounds.
Outside of Steffon Mitchell and Felder, the Eagles had no forward big enough to match up against Wake Forest forwards Ody Oguama and Isaiah Mucius, who put up a combined 18 boards.
Felder was easily the best player on the floor for the Eagles and has been throughout the whole year. He pulled down a season-high 14 rebounds, 17 points (with two threes), and two blocks.
Another standout was Jay Heath, who put up 20 points and has been averaging 19.8 PPG the last four games. This was his fourth game putting up at least 20 points this season.
The sophomore duo of Felder and Heath looks promising for the Eagles, as they can become a dominant one-two punch on the floor. Their play-making ability and leadership as upperclassmen could be beneficial for the Eagles to attract recruits to try and revitalize the program.
While Wake Forest came away with the win, it was not pretty by any means. The Eagles shot 32.8% from the field and 24.2% from three-point range, but the Demon Deacons were not much better, shooting 43.1% from the field and 26.9% from three.
The Eagles have dropped to 3-12 overall with just one ACC win to show for so far. They travel to New York to face off against the Syracuse Orange, who are fresh off a win against NC State on Tuesday, on Saturday at 2 p.m.
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