The Boston College men’s basketball team came away with a comfortable 85-70 victory over the Syracuse Orange in their final home game of the 2017-18 regular season on Wednesday night.
The Eagles bounced back after losing their previous three games. As usual, they were led by a trio of star guards: Ky Bowman led the team with 23 points, Jerome Robinson added 22, and Jordan Chatman chipped in with 18.
Ball movement helped BC to break down the Syracuse zone defense. The team finished with 19 assists and shot above 50% from three-point range, going 14-27.
Bowman and Chatman made five threes apiece. A three-point specialist, Chatman is a player made for games against a team that plays zone defense like Syracuse. Although both Bowman and Robinson outscored Chatman, he may have had the biggest impact on the outcome of the game.
“He’s the guy I worry most about,” said Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim of Jordan Chatman. “He’s their best shooter when he’s stationary.”
Chatman got a lot of catch-and-shoot looks off of quick passing from his teammates. He attempted 12 field goals, 10 of which were three-pointers.
After the Eagles took a 13 point lead in the first half, Syracuse charged back to cut it to just one. BC left the first half up by only three. Syracuse leaned on Tyus Battle, who led all scorers with 29 points, and Frank Howard, who added 17. Battle, Howard, and Freshman Oshae Brissett combined to take 46 of Syracuse’s 50 shots.
BC’s usually quiet bench won the battle of bench points, outscoring Syracuse 18-2. 10 of those points came from Nik Popovic, who was not in the starting lineup after sitting out of practice with a minor injury earlier this week.
The 6’11 Popovic also added a behind-the-back assist in the second half. He found Ky Bowman on a fast break, leading to an easy layup. Nobody in the stadium—including Bowman himself —was expecting the flashy pass from the big man.
“It just came out of nowhere,” joked Bowman after the game.
The game also marked the celebration of senior night for the Eagles. The ceremonies were short, however, because BC does not have a single senior on its roster. Out of the team’s 16 players, none have been on the Heights for four years.
Senior night instead celebrated the senior team managers, as well as senior cheerleaders and members of the pep band.
Perhaps the lack of seniors is a good sign for the Eagles. They will retain all of their players heading in to next season, assuming that none transfer and that Jerome Robinson elects to remain at BC rather than heading for the NBA a year early.
Freshman forward Steffon Mitchell left the game with a hamstring contusion in the second half. Mitchell had provided a spark for the Eagles earlier in the game with a pair of big dunks.
Head Coach Jim Christian was not able to give an update on Mitchell’s injury after the game.
BC played well, coming off of a heartbreaking 79-78 loss at the hands of Miami last Saturday.
“We played really well against Miami,” said Christian of his team’s ability to bounce back.
“I thought they showed a lot of character tonight, our team.”
The Eagles will finish up the regular season with a road game at Florida State this Saturday at 2 p.m.
Following that game, BC will head into the ACC tournament, which starts on Tuesday, March 6 at the Barclays Center in New York.