CHESTNUT HILL - Patrick Heckmann is one heck of a player (pardon the pun, but he really is). Heckmann scored 19 points on 6-of-16 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds to pace Boston College to a 67-64 win over the New Hampshire Wildcats in the season opener on Monday night at Conte Forum.
"I was pretty excited before the game, a little nervous maybe," said Heckmann. "But I just had to go out there and see how it feels. It was a good feeling. It was fun out there. We were competing really hard and the team just did a pretty good job keeping the composure and finishing the game."
Heckmann, who scored 11 points in the second half, led an Eagles scoring attack that rebounded from a poor first half from the field (9-for-30 shooting in first half) to shoot at a 46.2 percent mark (12-or-26 shooting) in the final 20 minutes.
"I'm very proud of our guys to fight through," said Eagles second-year head coach Steve Donahue. "Obviously we didn't play great in terms of execution on either side of the ball, and I give New Hampshire [and head coach] Billy Herrion a lot of credit for that - older, tougher kids that I thought they did a great job. I was proud that, after we gave up the lead and the game was in the balance, I thought we stuck it out and made the plays when we had to."
Boston College (1-0) and New Hampshire (1-1) played sloppy basketball for most of the third half. The Eagles led 11-9 with 12:13 to go in the opening half, but the Wildcats went on a 13-5 run to grab a 22-16 lead with 5:08 remaining. Led by five straight points from Ryan Anderson (13 points, 10 rebounds) on a three pointer and two free throws, followed by a jumper from center Dennis Clifford (10 points, 7 rebounds), to tie the game at 23 with 2:26 let before halftime. Two threes by Matt Humphrey (12 points, 3-for-5 3PT) and a buzzer-beating trey from Heckmann gave BC a 30-23 halftime edge.
The Eagles looked much, much better in the second half and jumped out to a 51-40 lead at the 12:10 mark. However, the WIldcats vigilantly chipped away at the lead and cut their deficit to one point three times, 58-57 with 5:34 remaining, 60-59 with 3:16 left and 62-61 with 1:19 to go.
The decisive basket of the second half came off the hands of John Cahill, who hit a three-pointer (accounting for his only points of the game) with 55 seconds left from the corner to increase the BC lead to 65-61. Humphrey made 1-of-2 field goals with 17 seconds left and Alvin Abreu (17 points, five rebounds) made a three with 12 ticks remaining. Jordan Daniels (three points, 3-for-4 3PT) made 1-of-2 free throws with eight seconds left to give BC its final bucket.
On the final possession of the game, the Wildcats brought the ball up court and worked it to the corner before bringing the ball to the top of the arc, but mishandled the ball and allowed Gabe Moton to steal the ball and secure the win.
Boston College returns to action on Friday night when it faces Holy Cross in Worcester.