The Boston College men’s basketball team defeated the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers 78-66 at the inaugural Fort Meyers Tip-Off championship. Eagles' guard Jordan Chatman matched a season-high 20 points, stepping up when Ky Bowman got into to early foul trouble.
In the first half, at 10:32, Bowman was called for a flagrant foul and he was benched to prevent fouling out early in the game. Bowman has been the offensive engine all season, but the bench excelled in his absence and secured BC’s first half lead.
The bench efforts were led by Jairus Hamilton and Nik Popovic. Hamilton scored an efficient 11 points to go along with three assists and three rebounds, arguably the freshman’s most complete game of the season thus far. Popovic played 26 minutes off the bench and put up 14 points and six rebounds. Bowman finished the night with 12 points in 29 minutes.
BC’s strong defense kept them in the game after Bowman got into foul trouble. The Eagles forced six turnovers and limited Loyola to just one of 11 from long range.
The lead fluctuated throughout the first half, but the Eagles were able to hold on and eventually pull away. The lead started to expand early in the second after Wynston Tabbs nailed a three to start the half, followed by a quick Loyola turnover and a Chatman layup. By 10:17, BC had a 16 point lead.
Loyola, however, came back strong in the final 10 minutes, going on a 13-2 run to get as close as five. While the Ramblers had struggled to hit threes for the majority of the game, they went 6-11 from behind the arc during their run. On top of that, Loyola had the clear advantage when it came to free throws. They shot 81% from the line while the Eagles only managed to hit 64.7%.
Guard Clayton Cluster was the Ramblers’ top scorer, finishing with 17 points. Loyola center Cameron Krutwig finished with 14 points via his efficient five of eight shooting.
BC bounced back from last week’s loss to IUPUI and played well in the Fort Myers Tip-Off, defeating Wyoming and Loyola to win the short challenge.
This was an important win for the Eagles as they continue to secure victories before heading into ACC play. While Loyola is certainly a different team than the one that made last year’s final-four run, this win will still look good on BC’s résumé.
Boston College hopes to continue their success as they take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers this coming Monday at Conte Forum.
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