By Gregory Hunt
The season came to an end for the Boston College men’s basketball team Wednesday when the Eagles lost to the North Carolina Tar Heels 81-63 in the second round of the ACC Tournament. The game was played in front of a crowd of 22,026 at Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The 5th-seeded Tar Heels used runs of 7-0 and 12-3 to take a 43-30 lead at halftime. Boston College, the No. 12 seed, rallied to come as close as 54-46 with 12:19 remaining in the game, but North Carolina responded by scoring six unanswered points and led by double digits the rest of the way. BC head coach Jim Christian, who was concerned about North Carolina’s superiority in the paint prior to the game, saw his team get out-rebounded 43-25, despite the absence of North Carolina’s 6-foot-9, 270-pound junior forward Kennedy Meeks, who missed the game with an illness.
“I thought in the beginning of the game we worked early, prevented some post catches and forced them off the lane where they were missing some shots,” said Christian. “As the game wore on, they started getting the ball deeper and deeper. It’s a hard team to double because they’re so long and athletic.”
Graduate student guard Aaron Brown, playing in his final collegiate game, led Boston College in scoring with 20 points. Junior guard Olivier Hanlan, the ACC’s leading scorer, added 18 points but suffered from a slow start, missing 13 of his first 15 shots. He wound up shooting 26.3 percent from the field (5-of-19). Junior forward Brice Johnson and junior guard Marcus Paige led North Carolina in scoring with 17 points apiece.
“I was getting some great looks offensively,” said Hanlan, who scored 30 points in BC’s 1st-round win over Georgia Tech Tuesday. “But I had a few in-and-outs and them having so many different guys to guard and being fresh all the time, obviously that was a factor.”
Reporters asked Hanlan if he was going to consider declaring for this summer’s NBA draft, but he wasn’t ready to make a commitment.
“I don’t really want to talk about it right now,” he said. “Obviously there’s a lot of time to make that decision, so I’ll just take it day-by-day.”
Boston College finished the season with a 13-19 record, including a 4-14 conference record that earned the team a 13th-place finish in the ACC. This was a slight improvement over last year’s record of 8-24, with a 4-14 record in the ACC that put the team in 14th place. Last season’s finish resulted in the firing of Steve Donahue, who failed to reach the NCAA Tournament in his four years as head coach of the Eagles.
North Carolina (22-10 overall, 11-7 ACC) advances to face 4th-seeded Louisville (24-7 overall, 12-6 ACC) in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament Thursday. The Tar Heels are currently ranked 19th in the AP poll while the Cardinals are ranked 14th. The teams split the season series this year, with each team winning on its own home court.
Gregory Hunt is a Boston native and a life-long fan of the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics. He’s also particularly fond of lacrosse, IndyCar racing and women’s college basketball. He currently works for Examiner.com where he serves as the Senior Manager of Content and Media Access. He also writes for Examiner.com as the New England Patriots Examiner. His work can be found on Examiner.com.