Popovic leads Eagles to ACC-Big Ten Challenge Victory

Popovic leads Eagles to ACC-Big Ten Challenge Victory

By Aidan Griesser

Nik Popovic single-handedly fueled a Boston College second-half surge for a win over the Minnesota Gophers as part of the ACC/Big-10 Challenge Monday night. Scoring all 18 of his points in the second-half, Popovic displayed his skills and helped the Eagles break away and never look back.

The Eagles have continued a strong start to their 2018 campaign, displaying improved depth from last season and getting off to a 5-1 start. That depth was prevalent last night as multiple players had impact performances that chipped into the win.

Of course, Ky Bowman was his usual self, sparking quick transition plays – one of which led to a huge slam over a Minnesota player – and playing lockdown defense. In addition, Wynston Tabbs continued his strong play at the beginning of his career. He was the second leading scorer behind Popovic with 17 points, and it would have been 20 if not for a shot clock violation that negated a deep flailing 3-point shot. Tabbs has shown a great deal of promise and so far has looked like the better BC recruit. Jordan Chatman and Stefan Mitchell chipped in 9 and 8, respectively, but both were playing tremendous defense.

Boston College led the Gophers by 1 point at the half, and the game was very close to that point, but the Eagles got out to a quick start after the intermission and ran away with the contest, eventually winning by 12.

For Minnesota, this loss marks their first of the season, one they may come to regret after getting into Big-10 play. They struggled after Jordan Murphy got into early foul trouble, though he did finish as the team’s leading scorer with 16 points. Big-10 All-Freshman Amir Coffee chipped in 12 points but got most of his buckets in garbage time. The Gophers shot 29% overall from the field, which ended up dooming them.

For Boston College, the 5-1 start is promising, and the team will want to continue winning out-of-conference before playing the stacked ACC. Their next opponent is the Sacred Heart Pioneers on Thursday night. This game is another test but the Eagles should come out victorious, as the Pioneers are 2-4 overall and 0-3 in NEC conference play.