Ngan Tran / Gavel Media

BC Outlasts Virginia Tech in OT

The Eagles scored a key victory Saturday afternoon over the Hokies in front of an intimidating crowd at Cassel Coliseum. BC overcame a 12-point first-half deficit and Virginia Tech momentum heading into overtime to win 77-73.

Steffon Mitchell put in a monster performance with several key plays down the stretch. He set career-highs in points and rebounds. He stuffed the stat sheet with 21 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, two blocks, and a steal to get his fifth double-double of the season.

Mitchell has been a Swiss army knife and is the only player in the country to average 8.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.4 steals, and 1.0 blocks. Only three other players have put up those numbers over a season since 1996. 

Jay Heath had another stellar scoring night with 18 points. He bounced back from the shooting struggles against Duke by shooting 6-10 from the floor and 3-7 from beyond the arc. 

Jairus Hamilton and Derryck Thornton both shot poorly, but provided key baskets down the stretch. Hamilton scored 11, corralled five rebounds, and dished three assists before fouling out late in the fourth. 

Thornton hit massive free-throws in overtime despite struggling with six turnovers and a 2-12 shooting night. He cooled off Saturday after averaging 17.7 points over his last three outings. 

The Eagles shot well as a team after the offensive horror show at home against Duke. Putting up shooting splits of 43.4/37.9/76.9. Virginia Tech, on the other hand, struggled from three-point range and the foul line, shooting 43.9/30.8/63.6 collectively. 

Virginia Tech was better inside with 34 points in the paint to BC’s 22. They also narrowly won the rebounding battle 33-32 and turnover battle 10-13. The Eagles’ main advantage came from their superior bench effort, which outscored the Hokies’ bench 17-9. 

Early in the first half, BC led 8-7 before Virginia Tech exploded with a 13-0 run. The 12-point Hokie lead was the largest they held the entire game. 

The Eagles fought back and cut the lead to as little as two. Still, Virginia Tech led 38-33 at the break.

Down 45-39, BC went on a 12-0 run to go up six with 11:45 remaining. Thornton hit a three before Heath hit another that he was fouled on. Heath knocked down the free-throw to complete the four-point play and give BC the lead at 46-45. Heath hit another three moments later to make the advantage 51-45. 

Both sides exchanged blows over the next ten minutes. The lead changed four times before the final minute. Kamari Williams provided a spark off the bench with a three and an electrifying dunk just minutes apart.

Williams hit another three followed by a Jairus Hamilton free-throw to give BC a 66-62 lead with a minute left.

Nahiem Alleyne hit a short jumper for Virginia Tech and then two-clutch free-throws to tie the game at 66-66 after Thornton missed the front-end of a one-and-one. The game went to overtime after Thornton was stripped on a full-court sprint to the bucket in the closing seconds. 

Virginia Tech had the momentum early in overtime, going up 70-66. Mitchell and the Eagles battled back with excellent free-throw shooting. They shot 9-10 as a team in OT, with Mitchell going 5-6. 

Mitchell led all scorers with seven points and four rebounds in overtime, including a clutch lay-up to break the deadlock as the Eagles closed out the win. 

The BC win gave the Eagles their first sweep of a conference opponent since 2012, which coincidentally was also Virginia Tech. The Eagles climbed back to .500 on the season, sitting at 12-12 (6-7 in the ACC). They look to continue their strong play on the road as they travel to Miami to face the Hurricanes on Wednesday. 

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Brennan Rietzke