Photo courtesy of Boston College Men's Basketball / Twitter

Swift Pace, Suffocating Defense Propel No. 10 Virginia Tech Past the Eagles

In their first ACC matchup of the season, the Boston College men’s basketball team fell to the No. 10 Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday afternoon. After a competitive first half, Virginia Tech’s aggressive pace and strong defense proved too much for the Eagles to handle.

The Eagles got out to a 32-30 lead at the half behind nine first half points from Jairus Hamilton. In the first period, both teams held strong on defense. However, in the second, Virginia Tech started to capitalize on their chances, as a number of Eagles found themselves in foul trouble. Nik Popovic and Chris Herren Jr. both eventually fouled out of the game and Jordan Chatman finished with four fouls.

The Hokies played lockdown defense all game. Virginia Tech guard Wabissa Bede played his part in shutting down BC star Ky Bowman; Bowman was not able to get into the paint and run the Eagles’ offense like he usually does. As a result, he often settled for three point attempts; he went just 2-8 from beyond the arc.

Jordan Chatman led the Eagles with 18 points, 10 of which came from the free throw line. Jairus Hamilton knocked down four three pointers and finished with a season-high 13 points.

Although Chatman led BC in points, he struggled shooting the ball from the floor. He was 0-6 from beyond the arc in a continuation of what has been a difficult year so far. Chatman, a senior, has shot just 28% from three point range through the Eagles’ first 13 games. A team that has relied on a number of freshmen for scoring output behind Ky Bowman, BC will need to get consistent points from guys like Chatman if they want to stay competitive in ACC play.

A veteran Virginia Tech team showed why they are ranked No. 10 in the country early in the second half; star players Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kerry Blackshear Jr. started to take over. Blackshear dominated on the inside, shooting 6-7 from the floor in addition to grabbing seven rebounds.

The Hokies shot 55.6% as a team in the second half, putting up 47 points in the period. They dominated the paint throughout the entire game, outscoring the Eagles 36-14 from the inside.

The Eagles were missing Wynston Tabbs, who was out with a leg injury suffered in the game against Hartford. Chris Herren Jr. started in his place, posting 22 minutes. BC has been banged up so far this season; Tabbs, Chatman, and Steffon Mitchell have all missed time nursing injuries.

Overall, the game was full of momentum shifts. Particularly, Virginia Tech went on a number of scoring runs in the second half. Coming into the game as 14.5 point underdogs, the Eagles had to play a consistent 40 minutes to have a chance for an upset. However, they struggled through periods in the second half when none of their shots were dropping. Virginia Tech took advantage, getting out in transition and moving the ball well on offense to grab control of the game.

BC now sits at 9-4 on the season, having dropped their last two games. Things do not get any easier for the Eagles moving forward—they now return home for a date with No. 6 Virginia next Wednesday. They will look to stay competitive in a difficult matchup against the Cavaliers and gain some momentum heading further into ACC play.

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