VT 66, BC 65: Eagles Fall to Hokies in Closing Seconds


Not meant to be.

On Sunday evening in Blacksburg, Virginia, the Boston College Eagles men’s basketball team was defeated by the Virginia Tech Hokies, 66-65. The Eagles fall to 8-17 (3-8) on the season with just five regular-season contests remaining.

Boston College got off to a hot start in this game, going on a 9-0 run after Virginia Tech opened with the first three points. BC managed to run their lead up to as many as ten points in one stretch during the first half, and they took a two-point lead into the locker room. It was, in fact, the Eagles’ first halftime lead in a non-home (away or neutral) game.

The Eagles began the second half playing very well, and even after the Hokies countered with some big baskets to retake a narrow lead, BC hit back and led for the vast majority of the period. The problems began with several minutes to go, as BC tried clinging onto a six-point lead with just under two minutes left. It was 65-59 Eagles at that point, but then Erick Green made a two (missed free throw for three-point play) and Jordan Daniels had the ball on the Eagles’ end of the floor. BC was moving its offense and Daniels coughed up the basketball unforced, then the Hokies came down the floor and had three chances to make a basket with two offensive rebounds. Dorian Finney-Smith made the third time the charm, and with 26 seconds to go, the Eagles’ lead was 65-63 with Finney-Smith shooting a foul shot to make it 65-64.

Boston College got the ball back and knew a foul was coming. Jordan Daniels received the inbounds pass and was fouled seconds later; the Eagles were in the bonus. Daniels missed the front end of the 1-and-1, and Finney-Smith grabbed the rebound. After a timeout and with about 12 seconds left, Robert Brown missed a three-pointer, but Finney-Smith got the game-winning putback with about two seconds to go, all but sealing BC’s defeat.

This loss was disappointing for several reasons. First, they should have won, as they outplayed the Hokies for most of the game (and fans on both sides would probably acknowledge that), but the Eagles could not close the deal. Second, it was a chance for the Eagles to get their first road win of the season, and there will not be too many better chances for them than this one. Finally, a win would have been a great way to continue building their Florida State momentum.

You hate to have to say it, because the Eagles played well on the whole, but our young team choked last night. BC simply could not prevent Virginia Tech from getting the big offensive rebounds they needed to eventually make the buckets. Further, Jordan Daniels, hero of the FSU game, had a rough final minute: he lost control of the ball when all BC needed was a good look at the basket and did not make the front end of the 1-and-1. Don’t make him the goat, however, as they lost as a team.

Eagles fans are allowed to be frustrated by the loss, but they should still retain a sense of pride in this team. They have clearly come a long, long way in the last few months, Steve Donahue has done a stellar job of coaching them, and they played well. Had they been able to hold on for another few seconds, the mood would be very different.

Boston College will get another chance for a road win on Thursday, as the Eagles will visit the Maryland Terrapins.