It happened to Northwestern in the 1923-24 season. It happened to Sewanee throughout the 1930s. In 1943-44, it was Georgia’s turn to suffer the embarrassment. Most recently, it happened to TCU in the 1976-77 season. Today, Boston College men’s basketball joined this infamous club as it entered Saturday afternoon’s contest as the subject of national media attention for all the wrong reasons. In the two marquee men’s college sports, basketball and football, BC (7-24, 0-18 Atlantic Coast) had played 25 games in the ACC, resulting in 25 losses. With one regular season game left to play, BC looked to avoid becoming the first-ever ACC school to go winless in conference play.
The Eagles’ opponent, Clemson (17-13, 10-8), came to the Heights on a three-game skid, with its last win coming against BC two short weeks ago in Greenville, S.C. While the Eagles led at halftime in that game, Clemson surged to a 65-54 victory.
This time around, Clemson put forth a much more potent effort, defeating BC 66-50. This game was not as close as the score might suggest.
The Eagles entered the game off of a gritty but heartbreaking performance against NC State. The Clemson game was the second complete effort the Eagles had put forth in as many games—perhaps their best stretch of basketball all season. Carrying this moment, along with the excitement of Senior Day, the Eagles brought the energy early as senior walk-on Steve Perpiglia received his first career start and nearly drilled a deep 3-pointer in the opening minutes. This play had the entire bench rise to its feet in excitement for the senior, who was awarded a scholarship for the second semester in December.
Clemson, however, quickly grabbed control of the game as the early excitement faded and the first half drew on. The Eagles’ 339th ranked scoring offense shot a lowly 31 percent from the field in the first half, as Clemson drilled three after three. The first half ended with a thunderous dunk from Donte Grantham to complete a 27-9 run for Clemson with the score 38-21 Tigers. While the Eagles have struggled in many areas this season, they have stayed close in the first half in the majority of the games this season—something they failed to do today.
The second half was just as much of a struggle for BC, with the poor shooting continuing as the Eagles finished the game shooting 36 percent from the field. The 3-point shooting of freshmen Sammy Barnes-Thompkins and Matt Milon was missed immensely, as Barnes-Thompkins sat out with a concussion and Milon with the flu. The Eagles looked to freshman Jerome Robinson for most of their shooting, as he finished 7-of-13 from the field for 18 points. Robinson returned from a fractured wrist last game against NC State, and has continued to be a strong and steady performer for the Eagles who can get the ball in the hoop in many different ways.
Eli Carter shot just 2-of-11 from the field for six points in his final regular season game. Carter bowed out finishing a frustrating campaign for BC. Though he led the team in scoring and assists with 16 points and four assists per game, Carter never reached his full potential. He averaged more than three turnovers per game and finished the regular season with 105 total. And though he led the team in scoring this season, it took him a lot of shots to get there.
The Eagles’ other fifth-year senior, Dennis Clifford, finished his final season on a high note with 14 points and 11 rebounds to complete a tumultuous career. The story of Clifford’s career was filled with a great deal of adversity, as he dealt with many difficult knee problems, and the way he finished off his career was fitting. The seven-footer surged in the final eight games, averaging 14 points and eight rebounds in spite of his team’s struggles.
While this game marked the last time the seniors will play at home, the season is not yet over. The Eagles will enter the ACC Tournament in Washington, D.C., as the 14 seed, playing against either Florida State or Georgia Tech in the first round. Either way, the outlook for the Eagles is grim. When they take to the court at the Verizon Center, they will look for a win to serve as the sole bright spot in a season full of failure.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor