The Wolpack played like crazy in the second half here yesterday. The problem was they had fallen behind Boston College by 15 at halftime and by 19 in the early moments of the second. So, a valiant comeback, a 16-0 run, didn't quite make up the deficit and the Eagles regained control and went on to a 79-68 ACC victory – the Pack's fifth straight loss on the road.
"That's been one of our issues this year," said State coach Sidney Lowe. "We'll play well for 30, 35 minutes. It's that five-minute stretch that a team might make a 10-0 run or something like that and get us down.
"We've been in just about every ballgame but if were to play 40 minutes we certainly would have won some of those games. That's been one of our Achilles heels is not being able to play for 40 minutes."
BC, which had lost four straight (after beating North Carolina) before winning in overtime at Georgia Tech Tuesday night, closed the first half with a 20-8 run to take the big lead. The Eagles, averaging 14.2 offensive rebounds per game coming in, grabbed 15 in the first half – and Lowe let his guys know that just wasn't going to cut it.
"He wasn't happy at all," said Smith, one of the leaders of the comeback. "He just told us to come out and play more physically than we were playing. They had 15 offensive rebounds, that's not good."
What WAS good for State, which hung in despite only six points in 26 minutes from leading scorer Brandon Costner, was the comeback. BC led, 47-28, with 18:25 left when State made its run over a 3:51 span, and suddenly it was a game again.
The Pack got to within three points on three different occasions – the last one at 56-53 with 7:25 remaining on two straight Smith putbacks, but could never get any closer.
BC maintained most of its rebounding advantage and out-boarded the visitors, 46-25, 22-10 on the offensive glass, for the game.
Tyrese Rice, the latest elite guard to hammer State this season, hit four straight free throws and Rakim Sanders added two and the lead was back up to nine.
It got back down to five, but Ben McCauley, another leader in the comeback, fouled out trying to take a charge with 4:50 left, and that hurt.
Rice (25 points, four assists, three rebounds) made sure nothing bad happened to his team and the Pack fell to 10-7 overall and 1-4 in the ACC. They host Miami Tuesday night.
"We exerted so much energy to come back that it took a little bit out of us down the stretch," said Farnold Degand. "But that's definitely no excuse. We should never have put ourselves in that hole in the first place. We made our own mistakes so we had to deal with the problem."
Lowe went with a bigger lineup at the start of the second half and it helped, the coach saying later we could see more of that in the future. But when it came down to getting over the top, Rice and his Eagles made sure that didn't happen as BC, surprising Lowe and his players with their strong rebounding effort, went to 15-6, 3-3 in the conference.
Smith came off the bench and led the Wolfpack with 17 points (6-for-9) and eight rebounds, McCauley finished with 15 and six and Courtney Fells and Degand both scored 10. Degand had a career-high seven assists and just two of a more-than-livable 10 State turnovers.