ACC Basketball: BC rallies past Wake
Associated PressBOSTON — Boston College avenged a heartbreaking loss against then-No. 4 Duke three days ago in an eerily similar way Wednesday night.
Joe Rahon’s two free throws with seven seconds left capped an 8-0 run in the closing two minutes that lifted the Eagles to an improbable 66-63 win over Wake Forest, extending the Demon Deacons’ Atlantic Coast Conference road woes.
On Sunday, the Eagles were clinging to a five-point lead before Duke rallied with the final six points, celebrating at the horn.
On Wednesday night, the Eagles’ comeback against Wake Forest mirrored the loss. But this time, it was Boston College’s players jumping for joy.
“We know games aren’t over when you’re down with two minutes,” Eagles coach Steve Donahue said. “It was almost identical. I said that to (the players). We did a pretty good job with the full-court press and we made plays. Duke made plays against us, and today we made plays.”
C.J. Harris scored 23 points for Wake Forest, including a pair of late baskets that seemed to set up the Demon Deacons for their first conference road win of the season and just their second in 23 games under third-coach Jeff Bzdelik.
Instead, the Eagles pulled out only the second win in their last nine games.
“We’ve been saying it all year that we’re been playing in a ton of close games,” Rahon said. “Our last one was against Duke when we felt like we let one get away.”
Five of BC’s conference losses have been by five points or fewer.
“We played well in those games. We just didn’t do enough things you need to do,” Donahue said. “This is really great for them, a great thing for morale and for confidence.”
Wake Forest led by seven with 2:12 to play, but Boston College scored the next six points, closing it to one with 33 seconds left.
After a 5-seconds call when the Demon Deacons failed to inbound the ball on the sideline, Rahon drove the lane and was fouled before calmly nailing both.
Harris was then called for traveling and Wake Forest was forced to foul Lonnie Jackson, who hit two free throws with 2 seconds left.
A long inbounds pass was batted away as the horn sounded.
“I’m very proud of my team,” Bzdelik said. “They competed, played hard and played well, but just came up a little short at the end.”
Patrick Heckmann led the Eagles (11-13, 3-8) with 14 points. Ryan Anderson and Rahon each finished with 12.
Travis McKie had 11 points for the Demon Deacons (11-13, 4-8), whose last ACC road victory came against Boston College, 71-56 last Jan. 21.
They beat the Eagles 75-72 at home on Jan. 12 behind a career-best 29 points from Harris, and it looked as though Wake Forest’s star guard would carry his team to another win over the Eagles until the bitter ending.
“C.J.’s been great,” Bzdelik said. “He’s obviously one of the elite players in the league and he did his best to will us to a win.”
Devin Thomas nailed a post-up turnaround over Heckmann and was fouled, converting the free throw to move Wake Forest ahead 59-56 with 4:40 to play. After a Boston College miss on the other end, Harris nailed a jumper from the left wing, pushing the Demon Deacons ahead by five with just under 4 minutes left.
A couple of possessions later, Harris split a pair of Boston College defenders and drove the lane for a layup, making it 63-56 with 2:12 to play.
The Eagles went nearly 5 minutes without a point before Olivier Hanlan had two free throws, Eddie Odio a dunk and Hanlan was credited with a basket on a goaltending call, closing it to 63-62 with 33 seconds left.
The Demon Deacons led by one at halftime and pushed it to 46-40 on Harris’ two free throws just under 4 minutes into the second half.
After that, Boston College continued to hang close, keeping it a two-possession game or less over the next 6 minutes until Odio’s two free throws moved the Eagles ahead 48-47 with 10:28 to play.
The score was then tied four times until Thomas’ 3-point play.
Following a fairly fast-paced opening 20 minutes, both teams appeared very cautious and reluctant to run in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.
In the first half, it looked from the start like Wake Forest was on its way to another miserable result in an ACC road game.
BC nailed eight of its initial 11 shots from the floor — including a 4 of 6 on 3-point attempts — and jumped to an early 13-point lead. The Demon Deacons started to push the ball up the floor more quickly and nailed some 3s of their own during an 18-6 run that pushed them ahead 24-23 on Harris’ fast-break layup.
The teams then traded leads three times before Wake Forest took a 37-36 edge into intermission.
The Demon Deacons had lost five of their last six conference road contests by 16 or more points; the other was a one-point setback at Virginia Tech on Jan. 19.