Boston College men’s basketball succumbed to the force of the Blue Devils Saturday afternoon in Durham, NC, trailing behind 93-82 at the buzzer. This weekend’s tilt, however, was a tale of two halves.
The first half was dominated by the Blue Devils, who took a 19 point lead into the halftime locker room, behind the play of freshman Jayson Tatum and fifth-year senior Amile Jefferson. The Eagles, meanwhile, appeared extremely young, turning the ball over an astonishing 21 times, with the majority of the giveaways occurring in the first half. After halftime, the Eags still looked slightly lost compared to an extremely talented Duke team. After a timeout by BC Head Coach Jim Christian, at which point the lead was pushed by 22, the team went on an 11-0 run to cut the lead to 11 points. The Eagles would even later manage to trim it down to six points before ultimately bowing out 93-82.
While many may not like discussing basketball game moral victories, this matchup certainly had notable moments for the Eagles. For a team that plays a total of five freshmen and sophomores amongst its regular eight man rotation, the Eags continued fighting while a veteran Duke team seemed to rest on its laurels. All in all, this was an encouraging sign, and BC could have easily called it quits after they fell behind what looked like an insurmountable lead. Instead they decided to fight and claw their way back into a game played at one of the most difficult home courts in the country.
The Eagles were paced by stud sophomore Jerome Robinson, who dropped 21 points, 19 of which came in the second half. Robinson was helped by fellow backcourt mate, freshman Ky Bowman, who claimed 19 of his own. The Eagles continually took advantage of Duke's overaggressive defense with an array of backdoor cuts. Boston College, normally a prolific three point shooting team, went cold from behind the arc today, shooting just 21%. However, the fact that the Eagles were able to remain in this game despite their struggles shows their increasing strides since several non-conference defeats, including those against Hartford and Fairfield.
The one-two punch of Robinson and Bowman has proved to be the steadying hand for BC throughout the season. Robinson displayed the entire repertoire today by nailing a clutch three, tough layups, and crafty handles to get in the paint. Bowman opened the game on fire, scoring nine of the team’s first 11 points. However, the X factor to today's comeback were the plays of the supporting cast. With 13 points from AJ Turner and nine from Jordan Chapman off the bench, others stepped up to help out the always reliable backcourt combination.
Boston College’s next game will be January 11 against North Carolina State at Conte Forum. Tip off will be at 9 p.m. in Chestnut Hill and the game can be seen on the American Sports Network.