NC State Survives OT Scare Against BC
By: Bryan Bruwer
The Boston College Eagles (13-12, 4-9 ACC) traveled to PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina on Tuesday Night to take on the NC State Wolfpack (19-8, 7-7 ACC). The Eagles are coming off a home victory against the Miami Hurricanes, while the Wolfpack fell by a score of 94-78 to #1 Duke at Cameron Indoor on Saturday evening. The Wolfpack once appeared to be lock for the NCAA Tournament, but they’ve slipped onto the bubble as of late due to a recent three-game skid, during which they notably scored only 24 (24!!!!) points in a home loss to Virginia Tech. The Eagles had a chance to play spoiler and make the Wolfpack’s path to the big dance a whole lot tougher.
The Eagles got off to a strong start spearheaded by Jordan Chatman, who scored the team’s first nine points, giving BC a narrow lead going into the first commercial break. The Wolfpack answered with an 8-0 run lead by Braxton Beverly had the hot hand from deep, hitting three of his first four shots from behind the arc.
One point of interest early on was a lack of assertiveness on behalf of Ky Bowman. Through the first ten minutes of the game, Bowman did not score for the first 14 minutes of the game, only attempting three shots and missing a pair of free throws. Bowman normally performs especially well in his home state of North Carolina (as evidenced by standout performances against UNC and Duke in the past), so his lack of aggression early on was a bit surprising.
Despite Bowman’s struggles on the offensive end, the Eagles kept the game close for much of the first half, but a late NC State run left the Eagles trailing by a score of 46-37 at the break. The Hamilton brothers were impressive in the first half, with both scoring 9 points on relatively on combined 7-13 from the field. Despite scoring nine early points, Chatman only scored three more points in the rest of the half, eventually heading to the locker room after apparently aggravating a laceration on his finger.
In the second half, the Wolfpack began to take control. Ky Bowman continued to struggle from the field, and the NC State lead swelled to as much as 12 early in the half. As in many of their previous games, the Eagles were forced to make do without some of their premier weapons. Nik Popovic was in foul trouble throughout, and his absence hurt the Eagles on the offensive end, where buckets became harder to come by. Vin Baker Jr. saw big minutes in the second half in lieu of Jordan Chatman.
The Eagles continued to battle, but struggled to close the gap as second half continued. The Wolfpack were deadly in transition, capitalizing on 16 BC turnovers and getting to the hoop for easy dunks and layups. However, the Eagles soared back to life. A Jared Hamilton and-one on a nice floater followed by two Nik Popovic free throws and an open dunk cut the Wolfpack lead to four with under nine minutes left. Then, Ky Bowman nailed a three from the top of the key to cap off a 12-0 run, cutting the lead to just one.
Bowman, dripping with confidence, then canned another from the same spot, giving the Eagles a 66-64 lead and making me regret all of my criticism of his play from earlier in this article. Almost as impressive as the Eagles late offensive onslaught was the play of the defense, which held NC State scoreless for over seven minutes, enabling them to climb back into the game.
The Eagles and Wolfpack went back and forth for the final few minutes, with NC State taking a one-point lead after an and-one alley-oop. Two free-throws from Steffon Mitchell gave the Eagles another late lead, 71-70 with just over two minutes to play. After a stop, Mitchell would get to the line again, time missing the front end on a one-and-one. BC would get another stop, but an errant Jairus Hamilton pass would deflect off the referee and go right into the hands of Devon Daniels for a layup to give NC State a 72-71 lead.
Hamilton would quickly atone for his mistake, nailing a jumper and regaining the lead for the Eagles. On the other end, Torin Dorn got an offensive rebound after a Daniels miss, an knocked down one of two free throws to knot it up at 73, but the Wolfpack got the offensive rebound and had the chance to hold for the last shot. However, the Wolfpack panicked and missed two shots from in close, giving the Eagles a chance to go for the win with under ten seconds remaining. Bowman, in isolation, tossed up a wild three that hit the back iron, sending us to overtime in Raleigh.
In the extra five minutes, the Wolfpack jumped out to a fast start, never giving BC a chance. Kevin Keats’ squad started the frame on a 7-0, before Popovic laid one in off the glass to stop the bleeding. Devon Daniels would promptly drill a three to give the Wolfpack an eight-point lead, and it was academic at that point. The Eagles fell to the Wolfpack by a final score of 89-80.
Despite yet another ACC loss, the Eagles shouldn’t hang their heads. They gave a tournament-caliber team all they could handle without the services of Jordan Chatman and Nik Popovic (for extended stretches), not to mention Wynston Tabbs.
Five Eagles finished with double-digit points, with Popovic leading the way with 18, followed by Bowman (16), Jared Hamilton (16), Jordan Chatman (12), and Jairus Hamilton (11). Steffon Mitchell also chipped in with 14 rebounds.
The next time the Eagles are in action will be on Saturday at Clemson (15-11, 5-8 ACC), while NC State will host the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (10-15, 3-10 ACC) on Sunday evening. The Eagles will have an opportunity to get their revenge against NC State on March 9that Conte Forum.