Lingering around the .500 mark for the past month now, the Boston College men’s basketball team fell back to a losing record with Wednesday's road loss to Virginia, 78-65.
Back in January, the program seemed to be on the upswing when they took one from the defending national champions in Chestnut Hill. Wednesday night, however, proved that the champs have still got it, despite currently being unranked.
Jared Hamilton returned to the starting lineup against Virginia after missing the last few games with an ankle injury. This marked only the second time in the past year (since February 2019) that both Hamilton brothers both appeared in the starting lineup.
Only Derryck Thornton was out for the Eagles with back spasms. Despite being rather streaky on offense, Thornton is BC’s leading scorer averaging 13.1 points per game.
The Eagles desperately needed some offense in this game. Finding an offensive rhythm has been a consistent battle for this team all year.
Both teams struggled to find the bottom of the net for the majority of the first half. The game opened with back-and-forth scoring on both sides. After the first five minutes of play, BC was down seven. However, the Eagles were able to fight their way to a two-point lead just three minutes later.
A two-minute scoring drought for both squads ended with a pair of UVA free throws. It would be another two and a half minutes before anyone converted on a field goal attempt, with Virginia finally making a shot from behind the arc.
BC wouldn’t score for exactly six minutes over this span, with Nik Popovic sinking a jumper to end that. Popovic led the Eagles in efficiency, ending with 22 points and seven boards. Despite all of this, BC was somehow still within four points of the UVA lead.
The Cavaliers ended the half on a 10-2 run, despite BC’s best efforts to keep the game close. The half closed with a score of 35-23 in favor of the Cavaliers.
UVA would lead for the entire second half, the advantage hovering around 10 points for the majority of the last 20 minutes.
With 14 minutes to go, Jairus Hamilton would shrink the deficit to six with a jumper. UVA responded with a 6-0 run.
BC once again got the lead down to 11 with a triple from Popovic with seven minutes left on the clock. UVA would then extend its lead to 20 after a 9-0 run.
Finally, Jay Heath put a stop to this with a jumper and scored six in a row himself. Heath played the entire 40 minutes and ended with 18 points, three rebounds, and four assists. Interestingly, the Eagles are 8-3 when Heath tallies 15 or more and are now 4-1 when he scores at least 17 points.
BC was within 12 after CJ Felder grabbed a defensive rebound and dunked it on the other end. However, Heath and Popovic gave up three combined fouls and four made shots.
Steffon Mitchell, meanwhile, played 33 minutes, contributing three points and grabbing eight boards.
With this loss, BC drops to 13-14 on the season and 7-9 in ACC play. Hopefully, having the next three straight at home will put the Eagles back on track to end the season strong.
On Saturday night at 6 p.m., the Eagles tip-off against Clemson and will honor the senior class of 2020 before the game.
Be sure to follow @BCGavelSports for all of the latest updates on Boston College athletics.