Eastern Eagles fall just short of upset bid over Boston College

The Eastern men’s basketball team took a pair of leads with inside of four minutes left, but couldn’t pull out a huge upset Wednesday (Nov. 20) and fell 72-68 to Boston College from the Atlantic Coast Conference at the Conte Forum.

Eastern traveled all the way to Massachusetts to play its first-ever meeting against the BC Eagles as part of the Gotham Classic. Junior Jacob Davison led the way for EWU by finishing with 26 points, eight rebounds and three steals after scoring just two points a week earlier at Saint Louis. Sophomore Kim Aiken Jr. had his third-straight double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

Eastern took its first lead early in the second half at 46-45, then secured another with 3:44 remaining on a 3-pointer by Aiken and yet another with 1:58 to play on a trey by true freshman Tyler Robertson .

But BC responded just 17 seconds later with a 3-pointer of its own by Jay Heath, then closed out the game by making five free throws in the last 24 seconds, with EWU’s final points coming on a 3-pointer by Davison with 10 seconds left. Eastern allowed a BC offensive rebound and had a turnover in the final seconds, and was unable to get off a potential game-winning or game-tying shot.

“You feel for our guys because we came out here and played a great game,” said Eastern head coach Shantay Legans of just the fourth time an Eastern team has played a current member of the ACC. “We came out and played hard and tough and I’m proud of that.”

Eastern trailed early 12-0, but came alive with a 10-0 run mid-way through that half that was fueled by Davison. He scored all 10 of EWU’s points, and his dunk with 7:27 remaining pulled EWU to within 21-19.

The Eagles made four 3-pointers the rest of the half, including one by Davison to knot the score at 28 and give him 13 tallies for the half. Eastern trailed at intermission 33-31.

Early in the second half, Davison hit another 3-pointer to give EWU its first lead of the game at 46-45. Boston College regained a six-point lead, but Casson Rouse scored all six of his points in a 6-2 Eagle run to cut the lead to two. Eastern eventually took back the lead twice with Aiken’s 3-pointer and Robertson’s big shot.

Eastern held its own against the bigger foe, and actually had more offensive rebounds than BC (13-9) while being out-rebounded by just two (42-40). However, EWU was just 3-of-6 at the free throw line compared to 19-of-26 for Boston College, which had three fewer field goals than the EWU Eagles.

“We battled hard on the boards with a bigger team, and had 13 offensive boards to their nine,” added Legans, whose team was out-shot 40 percent to 38 percent. “We just have to play smarter – our strength is as a smart basketball club, and we haven’t played smart offensively the last two games. Defensively we did a sound job, but we have to slow some guys down in certain situations.”