Well that momentum didn't last long. Coming off an emotionally-charged victory over No. 1 Duke Saturday, the Hokies came out with no energy, suffering their worst regular season home loss since 2007 in a 76-61 setback to Boston College. The loss moves Tech squarely back to the bubble with little room for error in the season's final two weeks.
Tech got off to a good start in the game's first minute, scoring the first four points. That was about it for the good news, however, as Boston College went on a 32-10 run over the next 12 minutes to open a 18-point lead at the under-8 minute media timeout. The Hokies seemed to finally wakeup after the timeout, finishing the half on a 13-3 run to work their way back into the game at halftime, trailing 35-27. The main problem for Tech was the lack of defensive intensity. BC had numerous open shots early on, connecting on seven three-pointers in the half (on 13 attempts) as opposed to just six two-pointers (on 14 attempts).
The Hokies started the second half on fire, connecting on their first five shots, but could not get a stop on defense. Tech cut the lead to six at 45-39 at the 15 minute mark, but would not get any closer. Malcolm Delaney started the decisive sequence with an airballed three-pointer. Then, BC came down and missed a three, but got the offensive rebound and Gabe Moton nailed an open trey to push the lead to nine. That sequence sparked an 18-4 Eagles run spanning eight minutes that ballooned the lead to 20 with a little under eight minutes remaining. Tech had just one made basket during that stretch, a dunk by Delaney. The Eagles then hit their free throws down the stretch, not allowing Tech any opportunity at a miracle comeback.
During Boston College's two big runs, they outscored the Hokies 50-14 in what accounted for nearly 20 minutes of game time. That means during the rest of the game, Tech actually outscored BC 47-26. It is simply inexcusable for a team to not play for nearly one-half of a game with this importance this late in the season. Especially against a fellow bubble team that desperately needed a win to get into bubble consideration.
Reggie Jackson had a great game for BC, scoring 13 points in the game's first six minutes. He finished with 20. Corey Raji also had a phenomenal game, recording a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds. As a team, BC hit 10 three-pointers and were a fantastic 20-of-26 from the free throw line. Coming into the game 10th in the ACC in rebounding margin, the Eagles outrebounded the Hokies 38-24, Tech's worst margin this season.
Erick Green led Tech with 21 points, rebounding from his 0-for-8 performance against the Eagles in Boston last month. Delaney had 17 points on his senior night, while Jeff Allen was a total non-factor, scoring 14 points and accumulating just three rebounds, all in the first half.
Tech got no secondary scoring as Terrell Bell had only four points and Victor Davila scored two and played sparingly down the stretch due to lack of execution.
The Hokies now have to fight for that elusive 10th conference victory in the hostile environment known as Littlejohn Coliseum. Clemson currently sits at 8-6 in conference and has to deal with Duke at Cameron tonight. With a loss to the Tigers on Saturday, the Hokies could fall to as low as the sixth seed in next week's ACC Tournament, which means they would have to win four games in four days with just eight scholarship players.
As for this weekend, tip-off is schedule for noon and the game will be televised on ESPN2.