BC Beats #1 Duke in Shocking Upset!
By Marc Occhipinti
The Boston College Eagles defeated the No. 1 ranked Duke Blue Devils 89-84 on Saturday afternoon in Conte Forum, starting their ACC schedule with a huge upset win that became an instant classic and a game that Eagles fans will remember for many years to come.
With the news that Senior Forward Deontae Hawkins would miss the rest of the season, few thought the Eagles would have a chance in this contest. However, BC played inspired basketball for 40 minutes to put an end to Duke’s 11-game undefeated start.
The snow was falling and so were the Eagles threes in the first half, as they hit on 11 of 16 3-point attempts. Duke responded with a 28-8 points in the paint advantage in a first half that featured 11 lead changes and 4 ties. BC ended the half on an 8-2 run to take a 48-41 lead into the break.
The Eagles lead dwindled in the second half, and momentum seemed to turn when BC picked up unnecessary open-court fouls early, putting Duke in the bonus with 16:19 remaining. After Duke took a 4-point lead and the ball heading into the under 4-minute media timeout, it appeared like the Blue Devils would hold onto this close game the way they have so often early this season. However, guards Ky Bowman and Jerome Robinson carried the Eagles down the stretch as they stormed back to end the game on a 14-5 run. Robinson hit two clutch threes in the final three minutes, and eight straight made free throws by Bowman, Jordan Chatman, and Robinson iced the game.
Ky Bowman led all scorers with 30 points, while finishing one assist shy of a triple-double with 10 boards and 9 dimes. Bowman was playing with four fouls for much of the second half, and he played fantastic basketball leading the floor and driving toward the net. Bowman grew up a North Carolina Tar Heel fan, so defeating Duke in this win was icing on the cake for the outstanding Sophomore.
Jerome Robinson finished with 24 points on 8 of 11 shooting, including a perfect 5 of 5 from beyond the arc. He also overcame foul trouble in the second half, heating up when it mattered most for the Eagles. Jordan Chatman was also feeling his shot today, going off for 22 points including 5 three-pointers. Chatman did not come off the court all game, being the only Eagle to play all 40 minutes.
The unsung heroes of this game were Steffon Mitchell and Nik Popovic. The two forwards played physical defense with Duke stars Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr all afternoon long. Mitchell did a stellar job at keeping Bagley from getting good post position, driving him to the perimeter where he only hit on 1 of 4 threes. Mitchell was frustrating Bagley, holding the presumptive top-3 draft pick to 15 points, his second lowest scoring output of the season. The Eagles outrebounded the Blue Devils 35-34, becoming the first team win the battle on the glass against Duke this season
A packed house at Conte Forum led to huge crowd support that lifted the Eagles in this one. BC players fed off the crowd all game, and the crowd seemed to be getting into the head of the constantly villainized Duke guard Grayson Allen. Allen seemed to be getting frustrated and affected by the crowd, airballing a 3, and missing the front end of a big one-and-one in the second half.
The students celebrated the Eagles’ sensational performance by storming the court after the game, showering the players in well-deserved praise. BC coach Jim Christian called this win “the best memory I’ve had in a long long time.”
The Eagles will hope to carry this win into more success in the ACC this season, and they are eyeing a potential return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009. This statement win is certainly one that will be talked about by the committee should the Eagles be in contention when March comes around.
Congrats to the team on a phenomenal performance, and it’s a great day to be an Eagle.