BC rallies late to topple No. 25 Miami 72-70
BOSTON -- Miami coach Jim Larranaga never made it out of the locker room. The rest of the No. 25 Hurricanes shut things down with about six minutes to go.
With Larranaga a late scratch due to illness, the Hurricanes went scoreless for the final 6:17 on Saturday as Boston College rallied from a seven-point deficit to win 72-70.
Jerome Robinson scored 29 points and Ky Bowman had 12 rebounds with 24 points, including a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds left to put the Eagles in front.
“Hopefully, coach is feeling better, we’ll get him back,” said associate head coach Chris Caputo, who subbed for Larranaga after his longtime mentor told him just before the tipoff he was sick. “He was needed today.”
After a first half with 11 lead changes and neither team going up by more than four, the Hurricanes went ahead 70-63 for their biggest lead of the game. They then missed their last nine shots and turned the ball over five times while BC scored the final nine points.
Guard Lonnie Walker IV said it was different not having Larranaga on the bench, but that the assistants did a good job.
“It’s always going to be strange not having the head coach on your sideline, motivating you and coaching you in a certain way,” he said.
DJ Vasiljevic scored 17 and Chris Lykes had 16 for Miami (18-6, 7-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), which snapped a three-game winning streak.
HOW THEY SCORED
Bowman hit a free throw before Robinson had the next six points, making a pair of foul shots with 99 seconds left to tie it 70-all. Miami had three chances to take the lead off a pair of offensive rebounds with about 30 seconds left before Bowman grabbed a rebound and BC called timeout.
The play was designed for Robinson, but he missed a 3-pointer at the top of the key and Miami’s Anthony Lawrence II grabbed the rebound. Bowman grabbed the ball away and was fouled.
After he made both foul shots, Walker’s desperation shot came after the buzzer (and was short anyway).
“It was just one of the `Will to Win’ games,” BC coach Jim Christian said. “We didn’t play great, but we had a great will today.”
The victory snapped a 12-game losing streak against Miami for BC (15-10, 5-7). It’s the Eagles’ second victory over a ranked team this season; they also beat then-No. 1 Duke on Dec. 9.
BC’s outside shot at the NCAA tournament depends on quality wins and a strong finish.
"(Christian) preached to us: `February is where we want to be and where we want to win,” Robinson said. “Right now we’re 2-1 (in February) and these are important wins for us right now.”
There were scouts from 10 NBA teams listed on the seating chart, with the hometown Celtics sending seven representatives to the game. Among them were president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and assistant coach Jay Larranaga, the son of the Miami coach.
Miami: With a slim hold on the final spot in the AP Top 25, the Hurricanes will almost certainly fall out of the rankings.
BC: At the very least, the Eagles have established themselves as dangerous at home. They have beaten two ranked teams, including the top-ranked Blue Devils.
“That’s irrelevant,” Christian said. “We’re trying to win games like everyone in this conference to make the NCAA tournament.”
Miami: Hosts No. 2 Virginia on Tuesday at 9 p.m.
BC: At Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. Tuesday.