CHESTNUT HILL - It's not often that a team gets a crack at erasing a 21-point halftime deficit, but Boston College was presented with a prime opportunity to do just that on Wednesday night at Conte Forum.
After falling behind 38-17 against Miami entering the intermission, the Eagles were able to trim their deficit to seven points (43-36) with 10:59 remaining and five points (56-61) with 3:40 remaining.
But each time, the Hurricanes had an answer and were able to quell each Eagles run, ultimately escaping with a 73-64 win in Chestnut Hill.
"Well obviously it's a disappointing loss," said Boston College head coach Steve Donahue. "Miami came out and really delivered a punch. They were ready to go, and we did not do a good job answering the bell for sure."
The loss dropped Boston College to 16-11 overall and 6-7 in the ACC, meaning that the Eagles will most likely need to win-out in the ACC tournament in order to make the NCAA tournament.
"It's awful, I feel disgusted," said Eagles junior guard Reggie Jackson, who finished with 15 points on 5-of-14 shooting. "Obviously, they were more physical. I believe [Reggie] Johnson got three and-ones. When we foul, it seems like we're playing pitty-pat with our girlfriends. When they foul, obviously we ended up on our backsides. That's the difference, we just have to man up."
Miami (17-11, 5-8 ACC) was 14-for-22 from the charity stripe and committed 17 fouls while BC made 18-of-24 free throws and had 19 fouls.
The Hurricanes shot 51% from the field (26-for-51) and made 7-of-15 three pointers (46.7%) while holding Boston College to 38.8% shooting (19-for-49) and 34.8% shooting from the perimeter (8-for-23).
"Definitely, I felt the same way on the court," said Jackson when asked if his team played with a lack of passion in the first half. "I believe we were all disgusted, it was probably one of our poorest efforts."
Jackson had a mere two points at halftime and was 0-for-4 from the floor. BC's 17 first-half points marked its lowest single-half output of the season. Prior to that, the Eagles' lowest output in one half came against No. 19 North Carolina last Saturday, when BC scored 20 points.
"I don't believe so, and I hope not," Jackson said, when asked if there was any carryover from the loss to the Tar Heels. "That game's behind us, there's nothing you can do about it, just like this game is behind us tonight. We have to move on."
Joe Trapani finished with a game-high in points (16) and rebounds (11) for Boston College. Corey Raji was the only other Eagle to score in double-digits, totaling 13 points. Biko Paris chipped in with nine points and three assists.
Freshman starting forward Danny Rubin was held scoreless in 10 minutes and fellow first-year guard Gabe Moton scored two points and committed five fouls in 18 minutes.
The Eagles stumbled out of the starting gate, trailing 7-1 by the four minute mark. BC cut the 'Canes lead to one, 9-8, with 12:54 remaining in the opening half, but Miami responded with a 36-2 run to take a 22-point lead with 2:49 left in the period.
"We just really settled early on for some poor shots," Donahue said. "I thought they just had great energy. Frank [Haith] had his group ready to go."
BC used a 19-5 run to start the second half, cutting Miami's lead to 43-36 at the 11 minute mark, yet the Hurricanes fought back and rebuilt their lead to 54-38 with 8:29 left. The Eagles trimmed their deficit to five at the 3:40 mark (61-56), but yet again, Haith's team crushed the BC run, taking a 64-48 advantage with 1:02 left.
The Eagles were out-rebounded by Miami, 34-28, and had only 10 boards at the break (zero offensive rebounds). While the differential wasn't huge, it was clear that the Hurricanes outfought the Eagles on the glass.
"The numbers don't really say that, but I sensed it as well," Donahue said. "There were probably five or six plays where there were 50-50 balls, and Miami got all of them."
In order to keep any hope alive for the NCAA tournament, Boston College must win-out in its remaining three regular season games against Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, and Jackson is well aware.
"If we want to make the tournament, we have to start tomorrow in practice," Jackson said.
Boston College moves to 24-13 in the all-time series and 11-5 at home against Miami...In the previous five meetings, the largest margin of victory was six points - 12 points total...The Eagles had 20 points off turnovers to the Canes' 10...The Eagles went six minutes and 53 seconds without scoring a point during a 25-3 run by Miami in the first half, before adding five in the final 2:10...Senior forward Joe Trapani ended the day at 1,278 points, passing Jim O'Brien (1,273) and Uka Agbai (1,277) for 20th all-time...Senior forward Corey Raji moved into 25th at 1,221 points, overtaking Will Morrison (1,216)...Junior guard Reggie Jackson now has 1,127 points and advanced to 31st over Ryan Sidney (1,124).