Boston College wanted Conte Forum full of Eagles fans for their national television game against North Carolina. They could could control that, but they could not control the effort of the teams on the court.
For the Eagles, it was nowhere near that of the visiting Tar Heels, as North Carolina defeated Boston College, 82-70. With the loss, BC falls to 9-11 (1-6) and has lost five games in a row. That 1-6 mark in ACC play also matches their final record for the month of January.
The home team got out of the gates quickly, running out to an 8-2 lead on the Tar Heels at the first media timeout. UNC’s slumber only lasted for about four or five minutes, as the Heels went on a long scoring run thereafter and left BC in the dust. After assuming a double-digit lead late in the first half, North Carolina never looked back. BC was able to close to within ten points towards the end of the contest, but it was too little, too late.
Perhaps the most notable instance in this game came with only four minutes remaining in the first half. Patrick Heckmann of Boston College drove to the hoop, and PJ Hairston and Dexter Strickland both attempted to make a play, but the two Tar Heels collided and Hairston ended up hitting the court hard. When staff attempted to move him, he lost his balance and had to be helped back to the floor until paramedics could take him elsewhere. Hairston returned to the North Carolina bench in the second half but did not play.
It was a most unfortunate thing for the Heels, because Hairston played extraordinarily well when he was in the game. They still had more than enough firepower to win without him, but he looked on course to have a special night.
Boston College wasn’t on course for anything special. North Carolina dominated in rebounding and played a tougher, more physical game. The Tar Heels came up with shot after shot to prevent the Eagles from getting close; once BC fell behind, it was a substantial challenge for Boston College to get back up off the mat. BC freshman Olivier Hanlan led all scorers with 22 points; James Michael McAdoo led the game in rebounds with ten, posting double-doubles in consecutive games.
For the Eagles, it is now a question of where they go from here and how they can hope to salvage anything from this season, even if just some good feelings. When BC was 9-6 (1-1), things were starting to look up again, as they had just won their fifth game out of six. Now, some bad luck, inability to close games, and the rigors of the ACC schedule have sent them to their fifth-straight defeat. This performance was lackluster and uninspiring by BC, just as the last one was (though North Carolina and Virginia are very different teams). Once more, the Eagles are becoming less fun to watch and more disappointing. Nevertheless, the future of this program will not be decided this season, but in those to follow, in case some perspective was warranted.
The Eagles return to action on Saturday afternoon as they host the Clemson Tigers.