The fourth time was the charm for Boston College Eagles basketball, as on Sunday night they defeated the Florida Atlantic Owls, 82-79, in their 2K Sports Classic regional game.
Boston College’s victory was their first of the season, moving them to 1-3.
Olivier Hanlan led the Eagles with one of the best games of his early career, though not an all-time high, scoring 38 points. His backcourt teammate, Joe Rahon, came in second with 17 points on the Eagles. Garland Owens made his first collegiate start for Boston College, scoring four points. He started in place of Eddie Odio, who was held out of the contest due to a foot injury.
On the other end, Pablo Bertone led the Owls with 27 points. Justin Raffington and Dragan Sekelja also entered double-figures for Florida Atlantic; Raffington had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
To end the first half, in which the Eagles already led by a basket, Rahon heaved a half-court buzzer-beater which went in for three more, giving Boston College a five-point lead at 39-34. The team has led in all four of its games so far at halftime, but would need to find another gear in order to close out this particular game.
Florida Atlantic did outscore the Eagles in the second half, 45-43, and the Eagles did allow the Owls to make a late comeback after having previously led by double-digits. The difference was that the Eagles committed fewer turnovers and continued to make their trips to the free throw line count. Boston College committed eight turnovers during the game and converted on all but three of their 27 free throw attempts. Of course, Hanlan’s dominant performance was also critical. Despite a big scare for the home team, Florida Atlantic was never able to tie the game or take the lead, although they came close on a number of occasions.
For the Eagles, this was a much-needed win that may in some ways have saved the season in that it has stopped the bleeding for now. A loss on Sunday night would have been catastrophic, as 0-4 would have been an unrecoverable deficit given their difficult schedule. 1-3 is not much better, but it is a start for this struggling basketball team.
In order to succeed going forward, the Eagles are going to have to play better defense. The mentality that they are going to bomb three-pointers and win slugfests with the nation’s top teams is risky to say the least. If the shots aren’t falling, they have no second dimension upon which to fall back. In four games, the defense has been poor and it does not appear that will change. Nevertheless, they just barely had enough offense to escape tonight.
The Eagles head to New York City on Thursday night to face the Connecticut Huskies for the first time in almost a decade at Madison Square Garden. If you’re going to be in the area, you can grab BC vs. Uconn basketball tickets here. The winner will face the winner of the Indiana-Washington game for the 2K Sports Classic Championship.