Chestnut Hill, MA – The Boston College Eagles (13-11, 4-8) knocked off the Miami Hurricanes (11-14, 3-10) in an ACC matchup on Sunday night in front of a sellout crowd at the Conte Forum. After leading 25-21 at the half, the hosts opened the second half on an 8-2 run to put the Hurricanes at arm’s reach. The visitors never got closer than five points the rest of the way. Despite having a tough night shooting the ball, Eagles’ junior Ky Bowman, had a very impactful game, finishing with six points, eight rebounds, and eight assists. The Eagles’ junior center, Nik Popovic added a double-double of 15 points and 14 rebounds. Ebuka Izundu and Chris Lykes finished with 14 and 10 points respectively, for Miami.
The Eagles’ star guard, Bowman, continued to prove why he is widely considered to be a second-round pick in the 2019 NBA draft, with another solid all-around performance. His impact on the game went well beyond the box score. His decision making was very good, and he consistently created scoring opportunities for his teammates on and off the ball, by screening and sealing defenders. Defensively, he was consistently beating Miami’s Lykes to the spot and forced tough shots. In this game, he showed great passing skills, highlighted by his 1-handed full court pass to guard Jared Hamilton for a transition slam. He consistently hustled after loose balls and was always attacking the defensive glass and helping his big men. Offensively, beyond his six points, he was in full control and communicated very well with his teammates.
Junior forward Popovic provided a very strong performance for the Eagles as well. The versatility of his offensive game and his expanded range were on full display tonight. He attacked the basket off the dribble when guarded closely and showed a nice touch around the rim. He also shot the ball with confidence from the outside, knocking down a triple from the top of the key and connecting on multiple mid-range jumpers. His game is built on a physical approach and he consistently punished the Miami big men on the glass on both ends of the court, finishing with six offensive rebounds and eight defensive rebounds. Defensively, he was very active in the passing lanes and used his length and size to force difficult shots.
Izundu, Miami’s senior center, did his best to keep Miami relatively close throughout the night. As part of his 14-point performance, he displayed a nice touch around the rim and good footwork to boot. He picked up his physicality on the offensive end of the floor in the second half and really battled hard on both ends with Popovic. He had a terrific night rebounding, while showing off his leaping ability en route to nine rebounds. Defensively, he could have done a better job forcing Popovic into areas that are less comfortable for him, but to do that he needed to play with more physicality.
Sophomore guard Lykes, who entered this game as Miami’s leading scorer (17.1), struggled to score on the night, but his impact on his team’s offense was very noticeable. There is no doubt about his confidence to shoot. He consistently let shots fly, even when they were highly contested and somewhat ill-advised. He needed to do a better job making plays for his teammates by using his quickness, which was on display several times, to get in the lane. Instead, he mostly settled for jumpers and so did his teammates. The Hurricanes attempted 19 (10 makes) layups and 45 jump shots, which included making only 4-of-26 on threes and 14 makes overall. The Hurricanes’ offense displayed almost a mirror image to Lykes’ offensive night (3-15 from the field and 0-8 on threes). He also had four of the Hurricanes’ 11 assists on the night, a telling stat about the way the shared the ball or did not share it on this night.
Stats to Note: Boston College had 19 second chance points, while the Hurricanes had just 10. The Eagles won despite recording five more turnovers and attempting six fewer shots than Miami.
Next Up: The Eagles will travel to North Carolina State (18-8, 6-7) to take on the Wolfpack. The Hurricanes of Miami will return home for a matchup with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (11-15, 3-10).