Time seemed to slow down when Jerome Robinson lofted a three pointer as the buzzer sounded the end of regulation. The ball arced through the air, and although the shot looked to be perfectly on target, it hit the rim and bounced out.
That play summed up Boston College’s whole night: fast, exciting, and really close to bringing the team a win—but coming up short.
After falling behind just before the half, and trailing by 11 with just 3:59 left in the second half, Ky Bowman and the Eagles staged an impressive comeback to send the game into overtime. Yet, the Hokies proved to be too much for BC to handle in the end.
The duo of Robinson (32) and Bowman (22) combined for 54 points for the Eagles. Nik Popovic was the only other BC player to reach double digits with 11. Robinson provided the spark in the first half, including a stretch in which he made a trio of three pointers in a two-minute stretch. He finished 4-9 from beyond the arc.
After struggling early on, Bowman got himself going with a big three-point play with 8:14 left in the first half. From that point on, he made his presence known, including a nasty transition move that left a Virginia Tech defender embarrassed on the ground, drawing cheers from the crowd.
However, the balanced Virginia Tech offense started to take over late in the first half. Crisp passing led to a number of open shots for the Hokies. For the first 15 minutes of the second half, Virginia Tech was able to stymie any sniff of a comeback attempt from the Eagles. Then came Ky Bowman. The sophomore star took matters into his own hands, making two consecutive three pointers and converting an and-one three point play. The Eagles had cut the Virginia Tech lead from 11 points down to just four in under two minutes.
With just over a minute to play, Jerome Robinson was fouled while shooting a three pointer. After the whistle, Virginia Tech’s Chris Clarke was called for a technical. Robinson proceeded to sink five consecutive free throws: two from the technical foul and three from the shooting foul.
The five point swing brought the Eagles to within two. With 20 seconds to go, another pair of free throws from Robinson brought the game even.
By this time, Conte Forum was alive. Bowman and Robinson had brought an electricity into the building that had been severely lacking for most of the second half. The crowd stood and willed the Eagles to make a push to steal a win in regulation. And although Robinson’s buzzer beater attempt didn’t fall, it seemed as though BC would enter overtime with all of the momentum.
So what did Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams tell his team during the break that turned things around?
“Nunc coepi,” he said, simply.
Nunc coepi, a Latin phrase meaning “Now I Begin,” became the Hokies’ mantra as they entered the overtime period. They were able to put the final four minutes of regulation behind them and take control of the game. After BC tied the game at 79, a three pointer from freshman guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker and an open layup from big man Kerry Blackshear Jr. put Virginia Tech up for good.
“I thought we showed great courage,” said BC Head Coach Jim Christian of the team’s comeback.
Despite the effort, BC’s defense was unable to come up with the stops it needed during overtime, and the team ultimately fell by a score of 85-80. With this defeat, the Eagles have now lost three in a row—their longest losing streak of the season. BC now sits at 3-6 in ACC play.
Jim Christian’s team will look to get back on track this Sunday, Feb. 4 when they face Georgia Tech in Conte Forum at noon.