The Boston College Eagles’ first win at the Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, South Carolina has been a long time coming. On Tuesday night, just two days after their most recent game in Massachusetts, BC weathered the quick turnaround and got it.
Boston College defeated the Clemson Tigers, 68-61. It makes the Eagles 1-5 all-time against Clemson and signals the first time BC has swept Clemson in a season series since joining the ACC in 2005. With the win, Boston College improves to 14-16 (6-11) on the season, giving them consecutive wins for the first time since the end of 2012.
The start of the game was typical for the Eagles: slow. Steve Donahue called a timeout when BC fell behind 7-0 in the first two and a half minutes, and his team responded. They went on to tie the game, but then eventually fell behind again. Donahue took another timeout, and the result was the same. The Eagles fought their way back to only a 2-point deficit at halftime. Despite some poor shooting from the field, Boston College did not turn the ball over often and did not allow Clemson any second-chance points in that half.
In the second, BC tied the game or got within one point numerous times, but it was not until 8:46 to go in the game that they finally took the lead at 47-46. As a matter of fact, they would not surrender it once they obtained it. Their run to get back into the game and eventually take the lead was engineered mostly by the freshman backcourt, but Olivier Hanlan in particular took the Eagles on his back. Hanlan exploded late in the game with key basket after key basket, going on to lead all scorers in the contest with 24 points. Boston College had a few rough patches late, but did not look back and claimed a 68-61 win.
Ryan Anderson’s contributions should also be recognized; the sophomore forward picked up a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Of those eleven, five were offensive boards. The only other Eagle in double-figures was Joe Rahon with ten.
This was an important win for Boston College, aside from them winning at Clemson for the first time ever. BC has won back-to-back games and three of their last five; over the weekend, they will host a mediocre Georgia Tech team with a chance to ride a three-game win streak into the ACC Tournament. In fact, if the Eagles win their regular season finale, they will be assured of the #8 seed in that tournament, setting them up for the 8-9 game, which would be at 12 noon on Thursday, March 14. Given that they are heating up a bit and would face a middling conference foe, it is not out of reason to suggest that Boston College would have a realistic chance of advancing to the second round. That in itself would be an accomplishment and a sign that BC is growing.
If the Eagles are starting to figure things out, they could not have picked a better time of year. They return to the court for their final game of the regular season on Saturday afternoon against Georgia Tech.