North Carolina 83, Boston College 60: Tar Heels Take Down Eagles In ACC Opener

Boston College took an early lead, but Harrison Barnes and No. 3/4 ranked North Carolina cruised to an 83-80 win in the ACC opener for both teams on Saturday afternoon in Chapel Hill N.C. BC fell to 5-10 overall on the season.

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Boston College 60 North Carolina 83: Tar Heels Take Down Eagles In Chapel Hill

After trailing by as many as 21 points in the second half, Boston College rallied to within nine points behind three pointers from Gabe Moton and Patrick Heckmann, but were unable to get any closer as the No. North Carolina Tar Heels pulled away in the final five minutes to win by the score of 83-60.

Ryan Anderson led the Eagles with 13 points and six rebounds in the loss which dropped the team to 5-10 on the season and 0-1 in conference play. Junior guard Matt Humphrey, after being removed from the starting lineup prior to the loss to Rhode Island, played well in his ACC debut, providing 14 points and a much needed veteran presence that steadied the team after a slow start to the first half.

For the Tar Heels, who improved to 14-2 on the season and 1-0 in conference play (11-0 at home), player of the year candidate Harrison Barnes led the way with 25 points including 3-4 from beyond the three point line. Also contributing to the win were forwards John Henson and Tyler Zeller who had 14 and 20 respectively. Kendall Marshall finished with a game high 11 assists.

The game started ominously for Boston College, who were playing with nine freshmen on their roster, and only three players with ACC experience. The Tar Heels jumped out to an 8-2 lead and looked poised to run away with the game in the early moments. But, behind Humphrey and point guard Gabe Moton, who came on in relief of the ineffective Jordan Daniels, the Eagles were able to run off seven straight points to take their first (and only) lead of the game at 9-8. The Tar Heels would reclaim the lead as the half went along, leading by as many as 15 before finishing the half up 40-27.

Henson got Carolina out of the gate quickly in the second half with a pair of baskets to help extend the lead and the Eagles continued to turn the ball over at a very rapid pace, finishing with 19 for the game, seven by the freshman Heckmann. The lead ballooned to 21 within the first four minutes of the half, the largest of the game before Heckmann, Humphrey, and Moton led the team on a 21-9 run, causing Tar Heels coach Roy Williams to call timeout and lash out at his players for their lack of focus. Over the final 16 minutes though, the Heels outscored the Eagles 24-10 to provide the final margin.

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Boston College 27 North Carolina 40: Turnovers Plague Eagles In Opening Half

After 20 minutes of action from the Dean Smith Center, the Boston College Eagles trail No. 4 North Carolina by the score of 40-27. The Eagles were led in the first half by Matt Humphrey who had nine points including a three pointer that provided the team with their only lead of the game at 9-8.

The Eagles struggled early with turnovers, two by starting point guard Jordan Daniels, that allowed the Tar Heels to get out to an 8-2 lead thanks to baskets from Tyler Zeller and John Henson. As the game progressed, the Eagles were able to settle down and find some success in their offense, particularly by utilizing back door cuts and slipping screens for open jumpers.

The Tar Heels were led in the first half by national player of the year candidate Harrison Barnes, who finished with 12 points in the opening 20 minutes on just seven shots including a beautiful "and one" play that saw him create contact on a breakaway and still be able to finish the basket. Other leading scorers for the Heels included Tyler Zeller and PJ Hairston.

Defensively, the Eagles allowed North Carolina to shoot the ball at 48% from the field including 4-7 from the three point line. On the bright side, one of the teams biggest weaknesses this season has been pretty much a nonfactor, as BC was only outrebounded by five.

For the Eagles to climb back into the game in the second half, they’ll need to stop turning the ball over, as they committed 11 in the opening half that the highly rated Tar Heels converted into 11 points. By comparison, North Carolina turned the ball over seven times resulting in just two point for Boston College.

The Eagles have missed four of their six free throw attempts.

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Boston College Vs. North Carolina: Live In-Game Coverage

As the Boston College Eagles get set to open ACC play against highly rated North Carolina this afternoon, SB Nation Boston will have live coverage throughout the game including in-game updates, halftime and post game recaps, and player interviews after the game.

If you’re unable to watch the Eagles battle the Tar Heels, make sure to follow along on twitter as @DShookSBN will be live at the Dean Dome covering the game for us.

The Eagles, coached by Steve Donahue come into today’s contest at 5-9 and are coming off a tough double overtime loss to Rhode Island earlier this week. The Tar Heels meanwhile, are 13-2 this season and ranked fourth in the country.

The last time Boston College opened up ACC play against the conference powerhouse was back in 2009 when Tyrese Rice led the Eagles to a stunning upset of the then undefeated and top ranked Tar Heels at the Dean Smith Center.

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Boston College Vs. North Carolina: Eagles Face Tar Heels In ACC Opener

Boston College (5-9) opens Atlantic Coast Conference play against the No. 3/4 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels at 2:30 p.m. EDT on Saturday afternoon at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. (TV/Radio: TV38/WEEI 93.7 FM).

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Boston College Coach Steve Donahue Faces Greatest Challenge

The fun is over. Now, it's time to get down to business. Steve Donahue and the Boston College Eagles men's basketball team face their greatest challenge yet with Atlantic Coast Conference play opening against UNC on Saturday afternoon.

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