Young Kim / Gavel Media

Freshmen Lead Men's Basketball Past Fairfield

The Boston College men’s basketball team defeated Fairfield on Sunday afternoon at home by a score of 77-67. Despite missing both Steffon Mitchell and Jordan Chatman due to injury, the Eagles stepped up and came away with their eighth victory of the season.

In the absence of two usual starters, the freshmen were called upon to step into a bigger role for BC. Chris Herren, Jr., and Wynston Tabbs rose to the occasion. Herren scored a career-high 22 points, and Tabbs added 20 points of his own.

To make things more difficult for the Eagles, star guard Ky Bowman had a difficult day shooting the ball, especially in the first half. Although he finished with 19 points, Bowman shot just 4-17 from the field and went 0-6 from beyond the arc. However, he did fill the rebounding void left by Mitchell well, finishing with a team-high 12 rebounds.

Although Tabbs has been on the scene for most of the year, Sunday’s game was a breakout performance for Herren. The freshman set season highs in nearly every category; his previous season high for points was nine. Herren played an efficient game, shooting 8-13 from the field and making over 50% of his shots from three-point range.

Fairfield was able to remain within striking distance for much of the game, largely thanks to timely three-point shooting and a number of sloppy turnovers by the Eagles. Calvin Whipple came off the bench for the Stags and went 7-14 from beyond the arc, finishing with 21 points. Whipple nearly single-handedly kept his team in the game in the second half. BC seemed unable to close out and affect his shots from the perimeter.

Missing two members of the core rotation for BC also allowed Head Coach Jim Christian to give some other players, including Herren, extended playing time. The Eagles will need to count on a variety of players to be difference-makers once they head into ACC play in the new year. Herren, Tabbs, and Jairus Hamilton, the Eagles’ three key freshmen, all recorded season-highs in minutes in the matchup against Fairfield.

Fairfield’s only leads of the night came after they scored the first basket of the game to go up 2-0 and when forward Wassef Methnani connected on a three-pointer late in the first half. Whipple’s sharpshooting brought the Stags to within four late in the second half, but the Eagles were able to cling to the lead and fend off any late attempts at a comeback.

BC relied heavily on its starting five in this game; no bench player was in the game for more than seven minutes. All 77 of the Eagles’ points came from the five starters. Nik Popovic (11 points and 10 rebounds) and Ky Bowman (19 and 12) both recorded double-doubles.

Fairfield relied on three-pointers to keep them in the game, sending up 40 shots from behind the arc as a team. Because of their perimeter-focused offense, the Stags only attempted two free throws all game. The Eagles, on the other hand, went to the line 29 times, converting on 72% of their chances.

The Eagles will have most of the week off before travelling to Chicago to face off against DePaul next Saturday, Dec. 22 at 3:30 p.m. They will return to Conte Forum for a New Year’s Eve matchup with Hartford on the 31st.

Now sitting at 8-2 on the year, BC will look to continue to gain momentum as they move through the last two non-conference games on their schedule.

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