2013 ACC Tournament: Boston College Folds Late Against Miami, 69-58


John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Much like Thursday’s final score would not tell the whole story of how the game went, neither would Friday’s ACC Tournament game involving the Boston College Eagles and Miami Hurricanes.

In the first ACC quarterfinal, #9 Miami defeated Boston College, 69-58. The Hurricanes will advance to the semifinal on Saturday while Boston College’s season is most likely over. They will finish the 2012-13 season at 16-17.

Paralleling Thursday’s first-round game, BC fell behind the Hurricanes early and in a big way. In the opening minutes, Miami found themselves ahead by double-digits, eventually rising to 15-4 lead, but the Eagles’ corresponding run was not as dramatic or immediate as against Georgia Tech. It took BC over thirteen and a half minutes just to break the ten-point mark, but once they did, the Eagles climbed back into the game. BC managed to take a 27-25 lead into the half, closing on a 16-2 run. Their run began when they started driving to the hoop and drawing fouls, giving them some semblance of an offensive strategy.

Most of the second half was back-and-forth, though Miami’s shooting vastly improved while BC’s remained steady. Unfortunately for the Eagles, steady was not going to be good enough. With three and a half minutes to go, the game was tied, 55-55, but that is the closest it would get for the remainder of the meeting. Coupling some big Hurricane shots with several costly BC turnovers, Miami was able to finish the game on a 14-3 run over the last three minutes of regulation.

It was a very noble effort for the Eagles, who once again demonstrated that they are willing to fight even if they are outmatched. For much of the game, Boston College seemed to be the inferior team but that did not stop them from giving Miami a spirited effort. They took advantage of enough Miami mistakes to stay in the game and keep it tied within the last few minutes, but at the end, the Hurricanes took advantage of BC’s miscues and put the game away.

Olivier Hanlan did not have nearly the kind of performance that he had on Thursday, though still managing a respectable 14 points. He stretched his field goal streak to 16 before missing; he shot 5-10 from the floor. Miami’s gameplan heavily involved harassing Hanlan and taking him out of the game, and for long stretches of it, his teammates could not make the shots themselves. Ryan Anderson also had 14 but Patrick Heckmann led BC with 15. Shane Larkin of Miami led all scorers with 20; Kenny Kadji had a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards.

Despite the noble effort, one thing BC will have to address is the traditional slow start. The Eagles would be in better to position to win many more games if they did not put themselves at large disadvantages several minutes in. This is not game-hunting where one might want to sportingly give their prey a head-start. In future seasons, the Eagles will have to be more proactive from the opening tip and not need ten minutes of game time before they start responding.

At the end of the contest, Miami made the big plays they needed to win while BC had some particularly brutal moments. That’s why the Canes are where they are and BC is going home for the offseason. If the Eagles intend to take that great leap next year, they will also have to learn to close games. They started doing a bit of it at the end of the regular season, but not nearly enough.

There is much to look forward to next season, and Soaring to Glory will soon begin the process of tying up 2012-13.