On Saturday afternoon, Boston College played 30 strong, spirited minutes of basketball against Virginia Tech. Unfortunately for BC, it also played 10 very bad minutes at the end of the game, and those were the ones that made all the difference.
The Eagles (9-20, 2-14 Atlantic Coast) couldn’t match the second-half shooting clinic hosted by Virginia Tech (20-8, 9-7). The Hokies scored an astounding 53 points in the second stanza en route to a 91-75 win over BC. It’s the Eagles’ 12th consecutive conference loss, a streak that goes back nearly a month and a half.
1) Honoring Old-Timers
As is customary for the final home game of the season, the Eagles took time before the game to honor three senior players (and one manager) who would take the floor for their final time in Conte Forum. Senior Garland Owens, along with grad transfers Mo Jeffers and Connar Tava, were recognized before tip-off at center court, and head coach Jim Christian slotted each of the three in his starting lineup.
For Owens, who has taken on a diminished role this season, the day was especially sweet. He played 19 minutes, his highest total since the first game of the season against Nicholls State, and tallied six points. Each bucket came at a critical interval in the first half as the Eagles took back momentum following a slow start to the game.
Owens is the only player left on the roster to be recruited by former head coach Steve Donahue. Though Christian didn’t bring Owens to BC himself, he’s certainly glad that Owens decided to stay.
“Garland deserved to have the night that he had tonight,” Christian said. “I was proud of him.”
Not only was it Senior Day on the Heights, but BC also retired the jerseys of basketball legends Dana Barros and John Bagley. The duo has 24 years of NBA experience between them, and they’ve played for a combined eight NBA teams.
It was clearly an emotional afternoon for Bagley and Barros, and one they won’t forget for a while. With their names hanging in the Conte Forum rafters, future BC fans will remember them, too.
2) Jerome’s In the House
Sophomore guard Jerome Robinson has struggled lately with his scoring efficiency, but he turned in his best offensive performance of the past month against the Hokies.
Robinson shot 50 percent from behind the arc and didn’t miss a single free throw all game in what was one of his more efficient contests in the second half of this season. The sophomore, who led all players with 25 points in 39 minutes, looked more comfortable on the court than he has in some time.
Generally, the Eagles go as Robinson goes, so it’s important that BC has him firing on all cylinders.
3) Forced Turnovers
The Eagles forced Virginia Tech into 19 turnovers, one of its best performances of the season in that regard. It didn’t make much of a difference, of course, because the Hokies shot the lights out from the field.
1) VaTech Catches Fire
With about seven minutes remaining in the second half, the Hokies’ second-half field goal percentage was about 87 percent. For about 13 minutes, Virginia Tech went through a stretch where it only missed two or three shots from the field.
That’s astronomically high.
The Hokies’ overall field goal percentage eventually came back down to earth and settled at a still absurd 67 percent.
2) Jeffers Loses His Cool
With the Eagles trailing by four points about halfway through the second half, Jeffers was called for a technical foul after expressing discontent with a foul called on him moments prior. Seth Allen stepped to the line, hit both shots. Then the Hokies scored on their ensuing possession, and they never looked back.
The lead never got closer than six points from that point on.
“Mo’s been great all year long, but he lost his head at a pivotal time and it obviously hurt us,” Christian said. “I’m upset, and he’s upset, because that’s not indicative of who he is.”
Jeffers didn’t have his best game by any means, and he only made it worse by giving the Hokies momentum heading into the final stretch. With two games left on the schedule—including one versus Notre Dame, the team against which he played his best all season—Jeffers has two more shots to make up for it.
3) Students Missing Out on Wins
Though BC won four games this season against legitimate opponents—Providence College, Auburn University, Syracuse University, and North Carolina State—current BC students likely didn’t see any of those games because they all happened away from campus or over Winter Break.
Wins are wins, and they’re great wins, but BC’s brand suffers when the team performs badly in front of its own fans. If students come to a game for the first time, and they see BC get lit up by a middle-of-the-road ACC team, they’re likely going to hesitate the next time they see a basketball game on the schedule.
Again, wins are wins, but it would be really great if some of those wins came when students could, you know, see it happen. You can’t build excitement around the program nationally without building excitement around the program locally. The team needs student support, but that won’t happen if every time students show up, BC loses.
Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Staff