Bowman, Tabbs and Popovic lead Eagles to win over Columbia
By JD Biagioni
A balanced first-half offensive attack gave way to a second-half takeover by a trio of Boston College’s leaders in the Eagles 82-73 win over Columbia.
Seven different Eagles scored in the first half, and no player scored more than 9 points. But in the second half, Ky Bowman, Wynston Tabbs and Nic Popovic combined for 42 of Boston College’s 44 points.
Chris Herren Jr. earned his first collegiate start after going 3-of-4 from 3-point range against Providence. He started in place of Jordan Chatman, who was nursing an ankle injury. Chatman had averaged 36.8 minutes per game this season prior to missing the Columbia game. Herren finished with 5 points, missing his final seven shots after making his first two.
Herren started alongside Jairus Hamilton and Wynston Tabbs, marking the first time the Eagles have rolled out the three-freshman starting lineup.
Hamilton took a scary fall attempting to catch a Ky Bowman alley-oop. He was pushed by Rodney Hunter on the way up and hit the floor hard. Hamilton layed on the court for a few seconds before getting up but seemed to shake off the cobwebs quickly. He fought for and put back an offensive board on the ensuing possession and threw down a rim-rattling dunk a few minutes later. These accounted for 4 of Hamilton’s 8 first-half points.
The Eagles didn’t record a field goal in the final 3:15 of the first half but still entered the locker room up 38-32. The dry spell continued at the start of the second half, and Columbia took a 40-38 lead.
Then Bowman, Tabbs and Popovic took over. Bowman knocked down 3-pointers, Tabbs displayed some crafty moves in traffic and Popovic went 7-of-8 on free throws in the half.
Some defensive lapses leading to open shots allowed Columbia to hang around late in the game. The Lions brought the score to within four in the game’s final few minutes. With BC up 72-68, Herren missed the front-end of a one-and-one, but Bowman swung in with the offensive rebound and got to the free-throw line where he knocked down both attempts to give BC a more manageable 6-point lead.
Gabe Stefanini came into the game leading the NCAA in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting 57.5 percent from beyond the arc. He was held to 9 points on 2-of-6 shooting from deep. Patrick Tape led the Lions with 17 points.
The win puts the Eagles at 7-2 and should serve to put the team back on track after a frustrating last week of basketball. BC fell in a hard-fought, old-school Big East battle against Providence 100-95 in overtime. The Eagles were then slated to take on Texas A&M in College Station, but flight issues led to the game being cancelled.
BC hosts the Fairfield Stags Sunday at 1. Games against DePaul and Hartford cap of 2018, before BC enters ACC play January 5th in Blacksburg.