Men's Basketball

Eagles Pick Up First ACC Win, Outlast Yellow Jackets On The Road

Boston College and Georgia Tech competed on Sunday for the right to take a step up the bottom rings of the ACC ladder. The two teams entered the matchup ranked in the bottom-three in points per game, in the bottom-four in field goal percentage, and a combined 0-11 record in conference games. Virginia Tech was the only other team that had yet to scrape out an ACC win on Sunday—and the Hokies spent a good amount of the afternoon out-pacing No. 2 Virginia, before the Cavs finally recovered in the final minutes.

BC (9-9, 1-5 ACC) trailed early in the game but eventually held a consistent lead, relying on its junior phenom, Olivier Hanlan, for the majority of its offensive production. The Eagles, per usual, allowed GT (9-10, 0-7 ACC) back into the contest in the final minutes, but made just enough free throws down the stretch to bring home a 64-62 win.

The first six minutes showcased how poorly both BC and GT can shoot. Each team made just one field goal in that time, while they combined to miss 16 shots. The game finally started to pick up around the 13-minute mark, as both managed to connect both in close and from beyond the 3-point line.

GT led for the majority of the half, though neither team proved very impressive on either end of the court. BC took its first true lead of the game with an offensive rebound and tip-in from Eddie Odio 14 minutes into the game. He, along with Garland Owens and John Cain Carney, saw extended minutes on Sunday with starting center Dennis Clifford out with an illness.

Will Magarity started in Clifford’s stead, logging nine points on four-of-six shooting and five rebounds in 28 minutes. Although defenses always appreciate having a seven-footer in the paint, BC didn’t seem to miss him too much against the Yellow Jackets, outscoring them 28-24 in the box.

Offensive rebounds, however, continued to plague BC. The Eagles allowed 14 in the game, twice its own seven offensive bounds. This gave the Yellow Jackets twice the second-chance opportunities, and they capitalized, scoring 15 compared to BC’s seven.

Though BC led at the half primarily through a team effort, it was Hanlan that gave his team the necessary edge in the second. After putting up just five points in the first 18 minutes of the game, he scored the final five of the half for the Eagles, and then went on to add 15, finishing with 25 points, seven rebounds, and a pair of assists.

Once Hanlan and company stopped settling for outside shots, as they did for the first part of the game, they began to consistently outplay GT. With 10 minutes to go in the game, BC stood atop an 11-point lead, its largest of the contest.

The Yellow Jackets refused to fade, however, in large part thanks to Marcus Georges-Hunt, who played 37 minutes for GT—nine more than anyone else on his team. He scored 20 points in that time, going 7-13 from the field and 5-7 from the line. Quinton Stephens also had a good second half, finishing with 17 points on the day.

After a slow-moving 30 minutes of basketball, the pace of the game finally started to accelerate. GT gained a rhythm it hasn’t found much in the past several weeks, coming all the way back and tying the game on a Georges-Hunt free throw with 1:26 to play. A Hanlan layup and two Heckmann free throws put BC up by four, but an Aaron Brown turnover, a Stephens offensive rebound, and subsequent 3-pointer made it a one-point game.

GT sent Brown to the line, where he would make just one-of-two, giving the Yellow Jackets a last-second chance for a win. Fortunately for the Eagles, the buzzer-beater attempt didn’t fall, and BC came away with the narrow win.

BC improves to 1-5 in the ACC, though no part of its play suggests any change in its course this season. This was a game where a star took over at the right time and led his team to a win, plain and simple. Although it’s great for Hanlan to break out in this way, the Eagles can’t exactly be proud of their effort.

Featured Image by Emily Fahey / Heights Senior Staff

January 25, 2015