On Wednesday night, Boston College men’s basketball suffered a tough loss to the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Jaguars at Conte Forum. After a hard-fought first half, the Eagles could not keep their momentum after the break, eventually falling by a score of 76-69.
Up and down the court, the Eagles and Jaguars battled competitively throughout the first half. BC lead for most of the half, but IUPUI kept it a close game by going 6-6 at the free throw line and getting out on the fast break. On the other hand, the Eagles were able to hold their slim lead by playing elite defense. Nik Popovic grabbed a few early rebounds and Wynston Tabbs added a couple blocks. Notably, Tabbs had a big chase-down block from behind that was ruled goaltending towards the middle of the first half.
From the outset, BC’s offense was sharp. The Eagles were shooting over 50% from three in the first half. Late in the half, freshmen Jairus Hamilton and Wynston Tabbs sunk consecutive three-pointers to give the Eagles a more commanding lead. Ky Bowman logged 10 points in the first and Jordan Chatman added 15 of his own. Nik Popovic’s dunk was the perfect ending to the half off a perfect pass from freshman Chris Herren, Jr.
The Eagles’ luck had clearly changed when play resumed after halftime. IUPUI came out more energized and scored some quick points on BC to begin the half. IUPUI was also able to convert many missed shots into second chance scoring opportunities. BC was not able to grab defensive boards and seemed to lose the pressure they were putting on the Jaguars defensively in the first half.
Overall, BC played a sloppy second half, tallying most of their points off free throws after failing to convert numerous opportunities. The Eagles could not find a scoring rhythm and many of their shots simply would not sink. After getting 15 points in the first, Jordan Chatman only attempted two field goals throughout the second half although he ended the game with a team-high 20 points. Similarly, Ky Bowman scored 10 in the first but only ended with 14 points. Wynston Tabbs and Steffon Mitchell both played hard toward the end of the game, each playing the most significant offensive rolls on the team. Tabbs ended with 15 points.
Despite the loss for BC, this was not a runaway game for IUPUI. The entire contest was very close, as only a few possessions kept the teams apart during regulation. BC’s 14-point lead in the first half was the largest lead of the game.
Simply, this was a poor showing for an ACC team in their non-conference schedule against a team that hasn’t beat Power Five squad since 2002. Neither team shot particularly well from the field and both sides racked up a significant number of fouls. Nik Popovic fouled out of the game with four minutes left to go. In the end, IUPUI outscored BC 40-27 in the second and grabbed 40 boards compared to the Eagles’ 28. IUPUI’s Camron Justice emerged as the star in the second half, leading the team with 29 points after going 13-13 at the line. His shot clock-beating three-pointer in the last minute of the game sealed BC’s fate for good.
Coach Jim Christian was not pleased with the Eagles’ performance, stating that “we did not compete” in the second half. With the way the Eagles played, Christian thinks that “they deserved to beat us.” Yet, Christian was unsure about where the team went wrong, noting that he thinks they got lucky during the St. Francis game and should’ve learned from that experience.
The Eagles will have a chance to redeem themselves against Wyoming. They travel to Fort Myers, Fla., to play their fourth game of the season at the Fort Myers Tipoff Classic. The game will be played Monday, Nov. 19, at 9 p.m.
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