Undefeated Boston College men’s basketball rolled into the semifinals of the Hall of Fame Classic in Uncasville, Conn., at the Mohegan Sun Casino looking to keep its record perfect. On Saturday, the Eagles took on the Texas Tech Red Raiders, another undefeated team, which dealt them their first loss of the season, 75-64.
BC (3-1) struggled early from the field as Texas Tech (3-0) managed to jump out to an early lead. The Red Raiders’ veterans showed their game experience, boasting five returning senior starters. The guard play was particularly important for Texas Tech early on, as senior Keenan Evans and freshman Jarrett Culver combined for 15 of the team’s 16 points to begin the game. Culver particularly impressed during this stretch with eight points on 3-for-3 shooting from the field for the talented first-year scorer.
Meanwhile, the Eagles’ shooting became a problem for them. They began the game shooting 1-for-6 from behind the arc,and finished the half shooting 1-of-9 from distance. This problem was compounded by Texas Tech dominating the boards in the first 10 minutes, specifically on the offensive glass. The Red Raiders grabbed 5 offensive rebounds in the first nine minutes of the game, which allowed them to take a strong early lead over the Eagles.
BC managed to make a strong comeback as the half came to a close however, as the team went on a 10-1 run with about five minutes remaining. Teddy Hawkins starred for the Eagles during this stretch, draining a tremendous turnaround jumper in a defender’s face. This run ballooned to an 18-5 stretch for the Eagles. The game really turned around, when, down one, Eagles’ freshman forward Steffon Mitchell made a great hustle play that allowed the BC to gain an extra possession. A lazy pass was deflected by Mitchell, which he dove on the floor after, securing and calling a timeout. The Eagles took advantage of this play as Ky Bowman made a contested 15-foot jumper to give the Eagles the lead. Texas Tech then came storming back, ending the half on a 6-0 run. BC went into the break down 36-31, but the deficit could’ve been much bigger. Evans led all scorers with 11 points in the half.
The second half saw a hot start from the Eagles, specifically from the backcourt of Bowman and Robinson, who struggled mightily in the first half. The ball was clearly put in their hands by their coach, which led to a high volume of scoring from the talented tandem. They combined for BC’s first seven points of the half, which kept BC in the game. The Eagles also managed to stay in it by drawing fouls early on in the second half. They got into the bonus with 10 minutes left to play, a good sign for a good free-throw shooting team. BC finished 15-for-22 from the line, most of which came early on in the second half.
Texas Tech’s offensive rebounding and great guard play, however, ended up being too much for the Eagles. The Red Raiders retook control of the game later on in the half, when on two straight possessions, initially-missed layups were followed up with emphatic slams on putbacks. BC was just unable to box out the big bodies of Texas Tech and ended up paying the price for it. The main reason for the Texas Tech win was the performance of Keenan Evans, who was absolutely unstoppable in the game. Evans finished with 29 points on 9-for-16 shooting, along with going 10-of-10 from the charity stripe. The senior guard showed off his scoring ability against a noticeably weaker BC defense that was unable to keep him from driving into the lane and finishing.
A key moment at the end of the game was when Texas Tech decided to double team Bowman off of the ball, thus forcing another BC player to make the important plays. Two straight possessions resulting in turnovers for the Eagles all but iced the game for the Red Raiders, securing their 75-64 victory.
Featured Image by Jake Evans / Heights Staff