In what was a tale of two halves, Boston College came into Joel Coliseum ready to avenge the drubbing they suffered at home to Wake Forest in January. Boston College was able to keep pace with Wake Forest by controlling the glass and strong play inside, despite Wake Forest's significant size advantage. Josh Southern contributed 10 first half points in addition to strong inside defense.
His play was a major reason BC held a plus-nine rebounding edge in the first half, including eight offensive boards. The Eagles led by as many as seven following a Joe Trapani three-pointer to put BC up 24-17 at the 11-minute mark. But Jeff Teague would prevent BC from pulling away.
In fact, it was the hot shooting from the three-point line that kept Wake in it. After Tyrese Rice drained a three to put BC up 35-34, Teague countered with a three of his own to bring the Deacons back on top 37-35. Teague scored 21 first half points, which kept the Eagles from amassing a sizeable lead, despite outplaying the Deacs in the first half. BC went into the locker room with a slim 47-46 lead.
Everything that BC did well in the first half was undone in the second. BC's lack of execution on both ends of the floor allowed Wake to run wild. They were able to get out in front and create easy fast break opportunities, just like they did in the first meeting.
The turning point was around the 13-minute mark, when Rice fell into a group of players after he hit a layup. That cut the Wake lead to three and seemed to stem the momentum. But, in the scrum, Rice was kicked and had to leave the game with a shin injury. Wake took advantage and pushed the lead to eight in just two-minutes.
Meanwhile, BC was not able to create open looks on offense. On several possessions BC was not able to get the ball inside to set up the offense and they were forced to settle for tough outside shots as the shot clock expired.
"We did not execute defensively very well," BC coach Al Skinner said. "We lost guys. At times, we had poor recognition on the defensive end. We lost our concentration. And offensively, we didn't execute very well. We couldn't get the shots we wanted."
Despite what appeared to be a loss of composure, BC did make one last attempt to climb back into it. The Eagles scored on two consecutive possessions on great looks from Biko Paris to bring BC within six at 71-65. That would be the closest BC would come as Wake Forest was off and running from that point.
Turnovers and poor offensive possessions by BC allowed Wake Forest to do what they do best, score in transition. They also began to take over in the paint. Southern was very strong in the first half, but disappeared in the second half, scoring only two points. Once Wake took over inside, they were able to pour it on and run off to a seventeen point win.
Joe Trapani led BC offensively with 19 points. He shot 6-of-8 in the game, including 3-of-5 from downtown. Rice finished with 18 points but also committed six turnovers. Corey Raji played all 40 minutes in this one and finished with 14 points and seven boards. Southern chipped in 12 points on a perfect shooting day (4-for-4 FGs, 4-for-4 FTs), but was held to just two points in the second half.
Rakim Sanders scored a season low one point in the game. He was bothered by a right wrist injury sustained against Virginia and was forced to leave late in the game after re-aggravating the injury. He was 0-for-7 from the field and looked uncomfortable and out of place the majority of the game. He is questionable for Clemson on Tuesday.
Once again, Jeff Teague burned the Eagles for 27 points and eight assists. Aminu finished with 26 points, 21 of which came in the second half.
With only six games remaining in the regular season, Boston College stands at 18-7 overall and 6-4 in conference play. The Eagles must bounce back quickly from the loss as they play host to a very talented Clemson squad Tuesday at 9pm.
This is also the time when tournament officials begin to take a long look at bubble teams. The record over the final ten games is critical. BC is also jockeying for a good seed in the conference tournament. The top-four teams get a bye.
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