Much like last year, the Eagles played a ranked team in their ACC opener, and lost.
On Saturday evening at Conte Forum, the #23 North Carolina State Wolfpack defeated the Boston College Eagles, 78-73. The loss drops BC to 8-6 (0-1) on the season and snaps BC’s five-game winning streak.
Boston College started the game well, led initially by Joe Rahon, then helped out by some good ball movement and the presence of Ryan Anderson underneath the basket. The Eagles ran out to a 22-15 lead late in the first half, after which both teams experienced lengthy scoring droughts, both on the floor and at the free throw line. NC State broke theirs first, going on a strong run and eventually surpassing BC before halftime. The Wolfpack carried a slight 29-28 lead into the half. Both teams were a combined 13-26 (50%) from the stripe in the first; Boston College did not score a field goal for almost the final nine minutes of the half.
In the second, NC State opened on a quick run and put the Eagles in a bad position, but they recovered. Boston College punched back and eventually regained the lead from the Wolfpack, despite more spotty free throw shooting. The two teams would trade blows for most of the rest of the way but in the end, it was the ranked team that came away with a hard-fought victory.
The Eagles played for lengthy stretches with some confidence, and did a decent job on defense for the most part. NC State led the nation in field goal percentage coming into the game, and they made more than their fair share of baskets, but free throw shooting was an issue for the Wolfpack (and the Eagles as well).
Speaking of NC State, for almost the entirety of the first half, they looked flat. One cannot say that they “took the Eagles lightly,” because who are we on the outside to make such a broad determination, but their effort early on was sloppy and disjointed. It got better as the game progressed.
For Boston College, there were certain good elements of this game that, if replicated, can help them going forward. Save for the scoring drought at the end of the first half and the overall bad free throw shooting, BC put forth a representative effort against a ranked team. It does not matter that the Wolfpack weren’t firing on all cylinders; BC may have been outmatched, but they gave it a meaningful try.
The Eagles return to action on Wednesday evening in Blacksburg as they face a struggling Virginia Tech club.