Boston College 2013-14 Year in Review, Part II: Men’s Basketball

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2013-14 Boston College Men’s Basketball: The Season, 2014 Portion

2014 was no more kind to the Eagles than 2013. They opened it up on New Year’s Day with a 73-58 loss at Harvard — quelle surprise — and then losing 62-60 to Clemson at home. The latter was on January 4, the day of the “Town Hall Meeting” on the state of the basketball program. Athletics director Brad Bates discussed matters regarding improving the fan experience, but there was a gorilla in the corner weighing approximately 800 pounds; its name was “Steve Donahue is getting fired.” Nobody dared speak its name, but everyone present knew it was there, especially following the Clemson loss to drop Boston College to 4-11 (0-2).

Beating Virginia Tech for the first ACC win of the season, and their first road win, only soothed the public sentiment for a short time. Boston College would follow that up with a home loss to Syracuse, a road loss to North Carolina, and a home loss to Georgia Tech to drop the record to 5-14 (1-5). The ship was sunk at Donahue’s job status was a foregone conclusion. All that remained were questions about how bad the final record would end up being for the Eagles, who never had Dennis Clifford due to injury and had a coach who made excuses about the tough non-conference schedule he picked.

The Eagles beat Virginia Tech again, but nobody cared. What followed were five more consecutive losses, including a devastating last-second choke at Notre Dame, a blowout against Duke, and another devastating last-second choke at Georgia Tech in which Donahue overcoached the team to a burnt shade of brown. 6-19 (2-10) by Valentine’s Day, and by now, the fans were convinced this would be one of Boston College basketball’s worst-ever seasons.

On Wednesday, February 19, this happened:

Feb 19, 2014; Syracuse, NY, USA; The Boston College Eagles bench celebrates after beating the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome 62-59 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

In one of the most momentous, flukiest, and inexplicable victories in Boston College basketball history, the Eagles got their only signature win of the year. Where, you ask? At the Carrier Dome against the #1 Syracuse Orange. This was nothing more than a feel-good moment for the Eagles, who were long since done, but it was perhaps more notable for the Orange in that this initiated a tailspin for them in which their season completely fell apart. That was payback for the 2013 football season finale, many times over.

None of those good tidings would be sustained by the Eagles, as they ultimately lost five of their last six games, including a first-round overtime exit in the 2014 ACC Tournament at Greensboro. Boston College finished the 2013-14 season at 8-24 (4-14), the most overall losses in program history, capping off the most losing three-year stretch Eagles basketball ever experienced.

Fans were all sure who would take the blame, but at first, it seemed nobody would.

Next page: The aftermath