Sports, Basketball, Men's Basketball

Eagles Hold off Virginia Tech in Overtime Thriller

With 12 seconds left in the game, Boston College men’s basketball tied Virginia Tech at 73-73. Mitchell was able to get the go-ahead bucket after posting up and making an athletic spin move from the paint to find the rim. The Hokies were unable to answer, missing what would have been the game-leading three with seconds left, allowing BC to hold on for the win with a final score of 77-73.

Heading into this game, BC (12-12, 6-7 Atlantic Coast) stood at seventh in the ACC. In the Eagles’ last game, they took on No. 7 Duke at home, losing a close game 63-55. BC competed with the Blue Devils for the majority of the match, even holding the lead a couple times, but the Eagles were unable to score late in the second half and fell behind in the last few minutes. A win against the Hokies would be crucial for BC, who had lost four of its last six games.

Both the Eagles and the Hokies came out hot, each making multiple threes early in the first half. Virginia Tech (14-10, 5-8) has proven to be skilled from behind the arc this season, leading the ACC with an average of 10 threes per game

Five minutes into the half, the Hokies took a slight lead after going on a brief 8-0 scoring run. The Eagles were able to match Virginia Tech’s scoring after putting an end to that run, but they found themselves down nine halfway through the first. The Hokies struggled on the defensive end late in the half with five team fouls, putting BC in the bonus. 

The Eagles became more aggressive on offense and limited the Hokies, scoring much better as they switched to a 2-3 zone offensive strategy. Virginia Tech was held to shooting just 3-of-11 in the final eight minutes. Going into the half, the Eagles found themselves down five with a score of 33-38. 

As the teams returned for the second half, the Eagles’ offense started to come together with the majority of the scoring led by Steffon Mitchell. The junior forward dominated on the boards all game, totaling 15 rebounds and a career high of 21 points. 

With 16 minutes remaining in regulation, the Eagles were down by six. Over the next 4:50, the Eagles went on a 12-0 scoring run led by Mitchell and freshman guard Jay Heath, who contributed two 3-pointers to fuel that run. Derryck Thornton also contributed with a three of his own. 

Virginia Tech regained the lead late in the half, after holding BC to just five points over a five-minute period. The Hokies’ scoring was led by redshirt freshman Landers Nolley II, who tore up the Eagles’ defense with 29 points and 11 rebounds. With just under half a minute left in regulation, Mitchell helped the Eagles regain the lead once more. After putting in work in the paint, Mitchell helped boost BC 66-64 over the Hokies. Unfortunately, the Eagles ended up fouling Virginia Tech’s Nahiem Alleyne as he was driving through the lane with four seconds left. Alleyne went to the line and hit both free throws to send the game to overtime. 

Virginia Tech began the overtime period by outplaying the Eagles, taking a 73-70 lead coming off a 3-pointer by Nolley. After that basket, BC’s man defense was able to lock down Virginia Tech’s offense, forcing the Hokies to remain scoreless for the rest of the game. 

Once the Eagles tied the game at 73 points apiece, it was all over for Virginia Tech. Mitchell sealed the victory with a layup that put BC ahead of the Hokies and then added two good free throws to further secure the win.

Featured Image by Matt Gentry / AP Photo

February 8, 2020