Men’s basketball led No.25 Notre Dame by ten at halftime but the Irish came back in the second half to rout the Eagles, 84-76, at Conte Forum.
Ky Bowman—who led all-scorers with 29 points—sunk two free throws to cut the game to 78-76 with under a minute to go. On the next possession, a missed 3-point attempt by ND’s Steve Vasturia revealed a sliver of hope, but V.J. Beachem got the offensive rebound over Jordan Chatman, who then fouled the big man. Beachem made both free-throws to loft the Irish to 80-76 with 24 seconds left.
In a desperate attempt to stop the clock during the remaining 15 seconds, the Eags continued to foul the team that leads the country in foul-shot percentage, and ND drained two more sets of free throws to ultimately extend the winning margin to 84-76.
The difference between teams like Notre Dame and BC’s inability to get over the hump when it comes down to the wire? They make big plays when they need to.
“You’ve gotta make winning plays," Jim Christian emphasized. "And when you get opportunities to win the game in the ACC, you’ve gotta make that play. We hesitate at that time, or we lack confidence at that time, because we haven’t made them.”
And, as Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey reiterated, that’s what the Irish do. ND finished 19-for-21 from the charity stripe, and overcame a 10-point halftime deficit after trailing the entire first half.
BC, on the contrary, missed a wide open 3-pointer from Chatman with 1:40 left that would’ve brought the game within one. A minute later, the Eags failed to capitalize on a crucial defensive rebound off of Vasturia’s missed three and Jerome Robinson—who was quiet all night with just 11 points—missed a layup, and no white jersey went for the offensive rebound.
But the first half was a different story.
The Eags took an early 13-7 lead sparked by three 3’s in under four minutes by Bowman. Bowman lit the fire, and everyone started contributing. BC’s bench added 14 first half points, and six separate Eagles recorded at least two baskets in the first.
“We are really fortunate to get out of here with a win. In the first half, we just could not guard them…..It was like clinic stuff that they were running. They cut us off left, right and we had no answer for it,” Brey relayed.
The Eagles led the Irish by a minimum of five points nearly the entire half, and at the two-minute mark, BC took its biggest lead all game and went up 44-31 off a Connar Tava steal in transition that resulted in a Robinson dunk. BC concluded a 50-point half posted against the Irish with a Garland Owens buzzer beater three, sending the Eags to the locker room with a 49-39 margin over ND.
In the beginning of the second half—where BC is known to encounter difficulties overcoming the hump—the Eagles hung with the Irish and maintained a 59-53 lead six minutes into the half. But that would be the last time the Eagles held the advantage, as the Irish reacted with their own 21-3 run over the next 4:39.
The Irish’s Matt Farrell—who was originally committed to Boston College--ignited ND’s run with three 3-pointers in under three minutes, giving the Irish a 69-61 lead with 10:37 remaining, and the Eags just couldn’t catch up.
“We did a lot of great things tonight. So, you point out the things we did well and there’s a lot of guys out there playing the game the right way,” Christian said.
“I thought they came out ready to play today, they played hard. Now you play to win.”
BC travels to No.14 Florida State this weekend to attempt to break the ten-game ACC win drought.