Boston College Basketball kicked off the ACC tournament with a dominant 87-77 win against
the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Barclays Center on Tuesday.
Despite a late comeback attempt by Georgia Tech, it was a great showing for the Eagles.
BC was led by the play of point-guard Ky Bowman, and center Nik Popovic. Bowman finished
just short of a triple-double, scoring 26 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out six assists.
Popovic was a force down low, going 8-11 from the field with 20 points and five rebounds. BC found great success early in the game with their high defensive pressure.
“I was really proud of our defensive effort today,” said Coach Jim Christian. “We were making it really difficult for them on offense."
Freshman Steffon Mitchell was a defensive workhorse in his ACC tournament debut, collecting 11 boards and two steals in 37 minutes on the court. Mitchell showed no signs of fatigue after suffering a hamstring injury against Syracuse on February 28.
The Eagles stopped the Yellow Jackets early by keeping them out of the paint. Georgia Tech
only made one three-pointer in the first-half off seven attempts and couldn’t find much success
in the mid-range game either. BC stifled them to a 30.3% shooting percentage in the first half.
BC Hoops led 36-26 at halftime and started the second half with more of the same play. The
Eagles went on a 15-5 run, completely frustrating opposing Head Coach Josh Pastner and his team. They couldn’t figure out how to stop Bowman, who drew a couple and-ones in consecutive BC possessions.
BC’s dominant showing came to a screeching halt with about seven minutes to go in the
second-half. After Georgia Tech initiated a full-court press defense, BC started turning the ball
over and giving up easy buckets. A 20-point lead was cut to seven points with less than three
“We stopped guarding them,” said Christian about their defensive effort down the stretch.
Senior guard Tadric Jackson scored at will for the Yellow Jackets. He finished with 29 points on
13 of 24 shooting, most of which came in the second half. Senior center Ben Lammers also
contributed on both ends during the second half, finishing with 18 points, six rebounds, and
four blocks. 10 of those 18 points came from the free-throw line.
A couple of fortuitous calls shattered Georgia Tech’s momentum. Robinson put the game away
with a beautiful finger-roll layup at the end of a clutch steal with less than a minute left.
The top scorers for both teams struggled to find consistency throughout the game. BC’s Jerome
Robinson, averaging 20.7 PPG, finished the game 5-17 from the field, while Georgia Tech
sophomore guard Josh Okogie, averaging 18.4 PPG, went 5-20.
It was an unusual night for the Eagles outside the arc, only hitting two threes in 14 attempts. Jordan Chatman and Robinson hit the only two.
That weakness from three led the Eagles to look for chances in the paint, where Popovic found immense success.
“My teammates find a way to feed me all the time,” said Popovic about getting good looks under the basket. “They do a good job recognizing when I am having a good day.”
BC now looks ahead to NC State, a team that defeated the Eagles 82-66 the last time they
“My preparation begins in about 20 seconds,” said Christian about how they will get ready for NC State on Wednesday. “We’ve played them once, we know how they’re going to attack us in certain ways.”
As Coach Christian said, “the first game is always the hardest step.”
BC Basketball will look to further advance into uncharted territory as they face the Wolfpack on Wednesday at 2 pm.