BC Falls to Louisville 80-70, Drops to 0-4 in ACC
By Bryan Bruwer
The Boston College Eagles (9-6, 0-3 ACC) traveled to the KFC Yum! Center on Tuesday night to take on the Louisville Cardinals (11-5, 2-1 ACC). The Eagles desperately needed a W in this one, as they dropped their first three ACC contests, and were fresh off a heartbreaking loss against their arch nemesis, Notre Dame.
Louisville got off to a relatively slow start this season, but one must consider that their five losses have come against #3 Tennessee, #15 Marquette, #12 Kentucky, #25 Indiana and an up and coming Pittsburgh team. The Cardinals were coming off a shocking wire to wire domination of the #13 North Carolina Tar Heels (in Chapel Hill, nonetheless) who were held to only 13.6% from beyond the arc.
The Eagles really felt the absence of Wynston Tabbs early on, as they struggled mightily on the offensive end at the start of the game, as they made only one of their first eight shots. However, the Eagles played strong man defense on the other end, turning over the Cardinals and running in transition on their way to an early lead capped off by an and-one by Chris Herren Jr., who stole a Louisville pass in the backcourt and finished at the rim about halfway through the first half.
As the first half continued, the Eagles started to take control despite the offensive struggles of their alpha-dog scorer, Ky Bowman. Although he wasn’t contributing much in terms of points early on, Bowman was aggressive on the defensive glass and pushed the pace in transition, setting up Nik Popovic for a layup under the basketball and Jordan Chatman for a transition three that gave the Eagles a 23-14 lead following a 9-0 run.
The BC lead got as high as 12 points before the Cardinals answered behind an individual 9-0 scoring run by Dwayne Sutton, sparking an offensive onslaught from Louisville that occurred alongside a power outage for BC’s offense. Sophomore forward Jordan Nwora, alongside Sutton, propelled the Cardinals on a massive run, and soon enough the same BC team that led 28-16 with 7 minutes left in the half, had seen that lead evaporate and turn into a 10-point deficit courtesy of an extended 27-5 run by Louisville.
BC’s struggles continued early in the second half as they fell further behind. The offense (with the exception of Jordan Chapman) couldn’t seem to kick it into gear, and Jordan Nwora continued to terrorize the Eagles, finishing with 32 points and 10 rebounds. However, when it appeared that all hope was lost, the Eagles began to mount a furious comeback, going on a 16-0 run towards the tail end of regulation, cutting the lead to five with under two minutes remaining. However, the Eagles conceded a key offensive rebound with just over a minute left that allowed Louisville to reset the shot clock, and ultimately for who else but Jordan Nwora to hit a dagger three to extend the lead to eight with 51.3 seconds remaining.
Despite a valiant effort, it was just too little too late for the Eagles. Jordan Chapman was a definite bright spot for the Eagles, contributing 21 points on 6-10 shooting from downtown. Another bright spot was Ky Bowman’s efforts on the glass, as he pulled down a staggering 13 rebounds, nearly twice as many as any other Eagle.
Of course, a ten point loss does not come without some explanations. The most obvious of these is the Eagles failure to stop standout sophomore Jordan Nwora, who as previously mentioned, poured in 32 points on 12/16 shooting. The Eagles were crushed on the boards as well (40-31), with their leading rebounder Steffon Mitchell pulling down only two rebounds in 24 minutes of action. However, there was likely nothing the Eagles could do to prevent this, as Louisville’s frontcourt had some serious height advantages. Lastly, Ky Bowman had an off-night scoring wise, putting up only 14 points on 6-17 shooting (0-6 from three-point land). The Eagles cannot expect to fare well in ACC play (especially away from Conte Forum) unless Bowman is at his absolute best.
The Eagles will look to get on the board in ACC playSunday at the Conte Forum when they take on #11 Florida State, who are fresh off an upset loss at Pittsburgh. Louisville will hit the road to take on Georgia Tech on Saturday afternoon.