ACC Basketball Game Stories, Jan. 1

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


Saunders carries Harvard past BC 73-58 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) – Harvard wasn’t about to let its current run against Boston College end at home.

Wesley Saunders scored 21 points, Kyle Casey had 11 with 10 rebounds and Harvard continued its recent success against Boston College with its eighth-straight win, 73-58 on Wednesday.

It was the sixth-straight season the Crimson (12-1) have beaten their rivals – located about four miles away. Boston College still owns a 32-15 series edge.

Jonah Travis also scored 11 points for Harvard, which opened a big first-half advantage.

“I could tell the way they practiced,” said Harvard coach Tommy Amaker, who collected his 300th win with the school. “They made it apparent they were ready to play.”

Facing the Eagles on their home court for the first time since 1991, the Crimson opened a 20-point first-half lead en route to their 16th consecutive victory at home.

“We’ve had some pretty good teams the past few years. Our kids have been terrific for us – not only against Boston College, but against other teams,” Amaker said. “We’ve been taking pride in working our way to becoming a relevant program and certainly a program that’s thought of in a fine fashion here locally.”

Ryan Anderson led the Eagles (4-10) with 17 points and nine rebounds, Olivier Hanlan scored 13 points and Eddie Odio 11. Boston College has lost six of its last seven.

Following a miserable shooting first half, Boston College made six of its initial nine shots from the field to start the second, slicing a 14-point deficit to 43-37 on Odio’s driving basket.

The Eagles have struggled with a tough early season schedule.

“We’ve played everyone everywhere,” BC coach Steve Donahue said. “I’ve got to get them back from this. My job is to get them back to being confident.”

The Crimson, who have been receiving votes in the AP’s Top 25 all season, no longer look at it as a game against a power conference. BC plays in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“Our team plays every conference. I don’t think we get caught up in that ACC thing,” Saunders said. “We just look at it as playing a rival.”

Harvard’s lead then ranged from six to 11 points before the Eagles cut it to 56-51 on Anderson’s basket with 7-1/2 minutes left. But the Crimson took control by scoring the next seven points, with Siyani Chambers’ 3-pointer capping the spree with just over 5 minutes left.

“We had a sensational start to the game. They ended the half very well. From the second half on, they were clawing their way back in it,” Amaker said. “I thought we had to come up with some big-time defensive plays to maintain that cushion and even extend it. I was very pleased with the effort of our kids. When the game has gotten tight, we’ve had confidence. That’s a big part of the process – to really believe.”

BC never threatened the rest of the way.

The Crimson led 39-25 at halftime.

Harvard, which scored eight of the game’s initial nine points, opened a 20-point lead (33-13) late in the first half, taking advantage of some easy transition baskets and poor shooting by BC, which connected on just 26.9 percent (7 of 26) of its attempts in the opening 20 minutes.

The Crimson pushed their lead to double digits for the first time midway in the half, 17-6, on Casey’s fast-break layup. After Garland Owens had a put-back jam for the Eagles, Harvard went on a 14-2 run over the ensuing 4 minutes, pulling to its 33-13 advantage. Steve Moundou-Missi scored eight points in the spree, including a pair of three-point plays.

The Eagles missed 13 of their first 15 shots from the floor and scored just 13 points in the opening 14 minutes of the half before making a brief flurry.

During a number of possessions – mainly the opening 15 minutes – in the opening half Harvard used a tough man defense against the Eagles, forcing them to run the shot clock in single digits before taking a large number of low percentage shots.

The Crimson next plat at Rice on Saturday. Boston College hosts Clemson on Saturday.