But the cheers quickly turned to boos as the referee signaled not a blocking foul, but a charge on Horner. The basket could have put NC State within 10 points of the visiting Eagles, the closest it had been since midway through the first half.
"We score that basket and who knows," coach Sidney Lowe said.
From that point on the Wolfpack never really got back into the game. Boston College went on a quick 9-3 run, and by the final buzzer on Saturday the Eagles walked out with a 74-58 win.
The Wolfpack couldn't keep up with the Eagles physically, as Boston College dominated the glass with 50 rebounds, 23 on the offensive end. State managed just 30 boards total and gave the Eagles second, third and even fourth opportunities.
"They just beat us up today," Lowe said. "We told them that this team is going to hit you, they are going to push you. I don't mean that in a negative way, they are physical."
Senior Engin Atsur, who missed the last nine games with a hamstring injury, returned to action for the Pack. The senior logged 31 minutes and had 10 assists, but went 0-for-4 from the field and was held scoreless. Atsur participated in only one practice before returning to the line-up against Boston College.
"I'm a little tired – I haven't really done much for the last six weeks," Atsur said. "But you gotta bounce back and go back to work."
Even with Atsur back at the point, the Pack continued its trend of poor first half play. State managed to hang around for the first 10 minutes, as the team's defensive intensity kept the Eagles close. But it didn't last, with Boston College jumping out with an 11-0 run and keeping the pressure - taking a 37-19 lead into the break. It's the lowest point total in any half this season for the Pack.
"It's unusual to me to have a young team that kind of does it in reverse," Lowe said. "Normally a young team comes out excited and energetic and you loose it down the stretch."
Boston College dominated the Wolfpack inside in the first half, pulling down 13 offensive rebounds and 29 boards overall compared to just 14 for State. Compounding the problem for the Pack was atrocious shooting, just 26 percent from the field and only 1-of-9 from behind the arc.
"It seem like they hit us and we just weren't ready for that type of play," junior Gavin Grant said. "They were so aggressive and we just laid back and let it happen."
The Eagles stretched the lead to as much as 23 at the start of the second half, led by the hot shooting of Sean Marshall. At one point in the half, Marshal scored 11 straight points for Boston College on his way to a game-high 23 points and 14 rebounds. State's Brandon Costner also picked up his fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
State responded again with an offensive flurry from McCauley and Grant. For a 10-minute stretch, those two were the only players from State to score as the Pack cut into the lead with fast breaks and McCauley's inside game. The sophomore had just two points at the break but finished with 15 before fouling out in the final minutes.
"As soon as I got the ball in the post I needed to make a quick move or kick it out," McCauley said. "If I held the ball too long they were doubling me. So what I really worked on in the second half was just getting it, feeling where my man was behind me and just making a move real quick."
Not coincidentally, Grant had his best game in a long time on the same day Atsur returned to run the point. Released from the pressures of running the offense, Grant led the Pack with 22 points as he was able to get out in transition and slash into the lane.
"That's gonna be big for us – putting Gavin back in his spot and having Engin running the offense," McCauley said. "We just have to get used to that now – we haven't had it all season."