ACC Basketball Game Stories, Dec. 15

Check below for game stories from all the ACC basketball action on Saturday. While we’re in non-conference play, stories will be listed in alphabetical order, by which ACC team is involved.


Boston College tops Division II Philadelphia 67-50

BOSTON (AP) – Boston College coach Steve Donahue knows his team’s confidence level has become fragile after a slow start this season. He’s hoping a win against a Division II team was one small step toward turning it around.

Olivier Hanlan scored 14 points and Boston College overcame a sluggish 30 minutes before pulling away for a 67-50 win over Philadelphia on Sunday.

“We’re still at the point where we’re trying to be prepared,” Donahue said. “I still don’t think they completely understand it because they don’t know what that feels like to have the confidence of knowing what it feels like (to win regularly). We haven’t had that kind of success.

“There’s no seniors and no guys that anyone’s ever seen win. That’s the message we offer as coaches to the players. They’re still trying to figure out how to be successful. They still have never had a role model show them how to win.”

Alex Dragicevich hit four 3-pointers and finished with 12 points, and Ryan Anderson and Will Magarity each had 10 points for the Eagles (4-7), who snapped a three-game losing streak. Anderson added 13 rebounds.

The Eagles were in a tight contest with the Rams until their talent level took over down the stretch.

“I just felt we weren’t prepared coming into the game. They played hard. They’re a pretty good basketball team,” Hanlan said. “It’s a Sunday, early morning game, but that’s no excuse. The guys just took a little time. After that, we had our feet under us.”

With many in the area cleaning up after the first major snowstorm dumped about 6-10 inches and a weak opponent, there was a very small crowd of approximately 1,000 on hand. When the teams tipped off at just after noon, there were maybe 500 people in the seats.

Derek Johnson led Philadelphia University with 15 points, Nick Christian had 12 and Nick Schlitzer 10. The Rams, who played just six players, traveled nine hours by bus and arrived in the area about 4:30 a.m.

“You go out for a game like this, you go up and there’s no pressure on us,” Philadelphia coach Herb Magee said. “It’s a game for Boston College. It’s an exhibition for us.”

The game served as an exhibition for Philadelphia (7-3) and doesn’t count in BC’s RPI rating.

But, when it got tight, Hanlan made the difference.

“That kid Hanlan can make plays,” Magee said. “I didn’t study the rest of them, but he’s the only one that seems to be that burner that can go by you.”

The Eagles led by eight at halftime and had trouble shaking the Rams, who cut it to 43-41 on Johnson’s 3-pointer from the top of the key with 11 1/2 minutes to play.

After the teams traded baskets, Anderson scored in the lane before Hanlan and Dragicevich nailed consecutive 3s just 47 seconds apart, pushing BC to its first double-digit lead of the game, 53-42, with 8 1/2 minutes left.

Anderson then scored in the lane again, capping a 10-0 run and the Rams never threatened the rest of the way.

“I thought we maintained our toughness and we stopped them 12 of their last 16 possessions,” Donahue said.

It was the first-ever meeting of the schools.

The Eagles opened a nine-point lead twice in the opening half, but the Rams sliced it to three late before BC took its 33-25 edge into halftime.

Donahue started his coaching career as an assistant with Philadelphia in 1988.

“I’ve never had more fun in two years of coaching than when I was with (Magee),” Donahue said.

BC, a member of the Atlantic Coast conference, travels to Auburn for its next game on Saturday.


No. 2 Syracuse beats St. John’s 68-63

NEW YORK (AP) – St. John’s coach Steve Lavin kept referring to two parts of the Red Storm’s 68-63 loss to No. 2 Syracuse on Sunday.

There was the first half.

“With the great energy in the building and the fans in a true rivalry, this is as good as it gets and somehow we came out tentative, kind of on our heels,” Lavin said of the first 20 minutes that ended with Syracuse leading 39-27.

Then there were the final 4 minutes, after the Red Storm had not just tied the game but taken the lead three times.

“I thought for the first 16 minutes of the second half we played the best basketball we played this year,” Lavin said. “In that final four-minute stretch, we had untimely turnovers, a flurry of missed free throws. We didn’t get stops. On our home court, and we had the lead. I expected to win.”

C.J. Fair and freshman guard Tyler Ennis both scored 21 points for the Orange.

Fair hit three big shots from the same spot – about 15 feet from the basket on the right baseline. The smooth left-handed shooter tied the game from there at 58 with 6:51 to go, then he made two more in the final 3 minutes as the Orange (10-0) were able to open a lead as big as seven points.

“We went to C.J., and he made a couple of tough plays. Shots that had to be made,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.

Fair smiled as he said, “I guess that’s what you say is my sweet spot.”

Since 1979, this had always been a Big East Conference game. Syracuse is now a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and St. John’s remained in the Big East. The majority of the crowd of 16,357 was rooting for Syracuse, something they used to get to do during the Big East tournament. Now, it will be a rare visit to Madison Square Garden for the Orange.

“It was a great game at the Garden,” Boeheim said.

Ennis had 15 points in the first half as Syracuse took a 39-27 lead. The Red Storm (6-3) chipped away and were able to tie it at 53 on three free throws by Rysheed Jordan with 9:16 to go. There were then four lead changes and three ties as Syracuse became the second highly ranked team to escape this weekend.

No. 1 Arizona beat Michigan 72-70 on Saturday.

D’Angelo Harrison led St. John’s with 21 points on 6-of-19 shooting, including 1 of 5 from 3-point range. Jordan had a career-high 13 points for the Red Storm and JaKarr Sampson added 12.

It was the Orange’s ninth straight win in the series that Syracuse leads 51-37.

The Red Storm missed their first 10 attempts from 3-point range and were 1 of 15 overall. They were coming off a 104-58 victory over Fordham in which they shot 60 percent on 3s.

“The last four minutes of a game is where Syracuse separates itself,” Lavin said.

The Red Storm missed four straight foul shots after taking a 60-58 lead. They were 20 for 26 from the line overall.

“It hurts to lose, but it hurts to lose to Syracuse in particular,” Harrison said. “Certain things that you can take away from the last four minutes of the game, that’s what we will watch the most.”

Sampson was hardest on himself after missing two free throws with St. John’s trailing 62-60 and 3:12 to play.

“That’s going to kill me. I’ve been thinking about those since I missed them,” he said. “Me missing two big free throws – I feel like that was a big part of the game. I feel like it turned the momentum.”