Senior Night was almost an unmitigated disaster in Chestnut Hill, but the home team held tough.
On Wednesday night at Conte Forum, the Boston College Eagles defeated the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 56-52. In their final home game of the season, BC picked up their fourth ACC win and their ninth overall. The victory also moved the Eagles out of last place in the conference, as they now take 11th with one game to go before the ACC Tournament in Atlanta.
Boston College, who started senior Peter Rehnquist in his final home game, and Georgia Tech began the game very closely to one another. The two teams traded the lead a few times until the Yellow Jackets were able to push out to a five-point lead at 12-7. The Eagles would have none of that, however, answering Georgia Tech’s solid start with a 21-2 run to take a 28-14 lead late in the first half. From there, the Jackets were able to chip into the Eagles’ advantage somewhat, letting them take just an 11-point lead into the half, which was their largest at the break for any ACC contest they’ve played this season.
The Eagles shot 50% from the floor in the first and got a significant contribution from Matt Humphrey, but in the second half, he and his team would struggle.
Within the first seventy-eight seconds out of the locker room, Georgia Tech put seven points on the board to melt Boston College’s lead down to four points. The Eagles were forced to call an early timeout to stop the bleeding, and once they got the ball back, Jordan Daniels hit a big three-pointer to push their advantage back to seven. From there, BC was able to go on another big run to increase their lead all the way to 17; this rise included an improbable four-point play from John Cahill. With 11:05 to go, the Eagles soared to their peak with a 51-34 lead, but it was all Yellow Jackets from there.
Georgia Tech had one last push in them, and it began with a Daniel Miller jump shot to cut BC’s lead to 15. Within a minute of that, the Eagles’ lead was ten, and a very animated Steve Donahue was compelled to take another timeout. Boston College was cold from the field, however, and the Jackets eventually started chipping away again. With BC’s lead now six, Lonnie Jackson fouled Jason Morris on a two-point shot. Morris missed the free throw, but Kammeon Holsey collected the offensive board and put it back in to make it a 51-47 game with just under six minutes to go.
Again, the Eagles turned to Jordan Daniels, and once more, he made a pivotal three-pointer to push BC’s lead back up to seven. As it turns out, those were the majority of the five points BC would score in the last eleven minutes of the game.
Georgia Tech kept coming, and they were eventually able to cut the Eagles’ lead to two points (54-52) with 2:21 remaining. With Boston College fans beginning to panic, the Yellow Jackets had a number of opportunities to tie or take the lead, but Holsey’s tip shot at 2:21 was the last basket they would score. BC’s Lonnie Jackson made two free throws to extend the lead to four and help seal the victory.
This game should not have been close. Boston College outplayed Georgia Tech for a majority of the contest and was able to stretch out to a 17-point lead with eleven minutes to go, so the fact that it came down to a few misses and a few BC free throws is scary enough. It seemed very realistic that BC would choke the game away in the closing moments, but they benefited from the Yellow Jackets not being able to make a shot in the last two minutes.
BC’s own shooting was great, until it wasn’t. Boston College had a great first half offensively and started the second half in much the same way, but they scored five points in the last eleven minutes, making only one field goal in that span (Daniels’ three-pointer). In particular, Matt Humphrey, who had 13 points in the first half and guided the Eagles to a comfortable lead, scored none in the second and looked wholly different from the pre-halftime player we saw.
Again, the Eagles had the problem of a long, ugly scoring drought manifesting itself, and had BC played a better team with more offensive ability, it’s likely this recap would not be a happy one. In any event, what matters for them is that they won.
It was much closer than it should have been, and far too scary at the end for Eagles fans, but it’s a win and they can’t take it away now; this young team will take any wins they can get. Boston College will wrap up their regular season in Miami on Saturday afternoon.