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Boston College deals Syracuse its first loss

  • Associated Press
  • Published Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, at 8:43 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, at 9:23 p.m.

— Jim Boeheim shrugged. It was nice while it lasted.

“It’s been an unbelievable run of making unbelievable plays in the last six or seven minutes of games,” Boeheim said Wednesday night after No. 1 Syracuse lost 62-59 in overtime to Boston College, ending the Orange’s run at an unbeaten season. “I’ve never seen anything like it before. We’ve had a lot of good teams, but I don’t think we’ve had any teams that would’ve won all these games the way this team has. It’s remarkable what they’ve done.”

Syracuse’s 25-game winning streak came to a screeching halt when the Eagles found their range from behind the arc. Held to 2-of-8 shooting on three-pointers in the opening half, BC drained 9 of 14 in the final 25 minutes to pull off the stunning upset and leave Wichita State (28-0) as the lone unbeaten in Division I.

“I’m not disappointed (in the streak ending),” freshman guard Tyler Ennis said after his first college loss. “It’s nice to win all these games, but it’s pretty unrealistic to think you’re going to go undefeated in the ACC.”

Syracuse (25-1, 12-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) won 58-56 at Pittsburgh a week ago on Ennis’ 40-footer at the buzzer and 56-55 over North Carolina State in the Carrier Dome on Saturday night with a late steal as the Orange had walked a tightrope much of the season.

Both teams had chances to win it in regulation and faltered. BC was called for two shot-clock violations in the final 4:30 and Rakeem Christmas missed a short hook in the lane with a second left and the game tied at 50.

“I think it should’ve been won,” said C.J. Fair, who struggled to score 20 points on 7-of-23 shooting, making only one shot from behind the arc. “I still think this team is special. We can still accomplish something special.”

Fair had 11 rebounds, Ennis had 14 points and six assists, and Jerami Grant finished with 11 points.

Olivier Hanlan and Patrick Heckmann hit three-pointers in overtime and Lonnie Jackson made four straight free throws in the final 26.2 seconds to secure the victory.

“It was an emotional game for us,” BC coach Steve Donahue said after his first Carrier Dome win in eight tries against the Orange. “It’s been incredible for these guys to persevere. We’ve played well in a lot of games.”

The Eagles came to town with heavy hearts and a good dose of determination. Longtime basketball media contact and sports information assistant Dick Kelley died last week after a two-year battle with ALS. His funeral was Tuesday and the Eagles, who often visited his apartment, were wearing “DK” patches on their uniforms.

“The patch on our chests, toward the end of the game it was like, `We can’t be denied. DK is looking down on us. He’s got us,“’ forward Ryan Anderson said. “It’s real emotional. It’s really going to set in in a couple of hours.”

Boston College (7-19, 3-10), which had lost five straight, rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit to pull off the improbable upset.

The Eagles had dropped six games by four points or fewer, including 74-71 at Georgia Tech and 73-69 to Notre Dame in the last week. They won this one by going 11 of 22 from behind the arc and committed just three turnovers in the final 25 minutes after giving away 12 in the opening half that Syracuse converted into 17 points.

“We’ve been in a lot of close games this year, lost a lot of heartbreakers,” said Jackson, who was just 9 of 16 from the free throw line in conference play entering the game. “We’ve been in this before, so we just had to rely on that. Finally, the ball bounced our way.”

Syracuse travels to No. 5 Duke on Saturday night for a rematch of their overtime instant classic on Feb. 1, won by the Orange 91-89.

BOSTON COLLEGE (7-19): Jackson 2-7 4-4 10, Hanlan 6-14 4-4 20, Rahon 3-10 0-0 9, Odio 2-2 0-0 5, Anderson 4-10 1-2 9, Caudill 0-0 0-0 0, Magarity 0-0 0-0 0, Heckmann 4-6 0-0 9. Totals 21-49 9-10 62.

SYRACUSE (25-1): Grant 4-9 3-6 11, Fair 7-23 6-6 20, Christmas 1-6 7-10 9, Cooney 2-8 0-0 5, Ennis 6-14 1-2 14, Gbinije 0-2 0-0 0, Keita 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-62 17-24 59.

Halftime—Syracuse 25-17. End Of Regulation—Tied 50. 3-Point Goals—Boston College 11-22 (Hanlan 4-9, Rahon 3-4, Jackson 2-6, Odio 1-1, Heckmann 1-2), Syracuse 2-12 (Ennis 1-3, Cooney 1-6, Fair 0-1, Gbinije 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Boston College 40 (Anderson 14), Syracuse 37 (Christmas, Fair 11). Assists—Boston College 15 (Anderson 4), Syracuse 14 (Ennis 6). Total Fouls—Boston College 19, Syracuse 12. A—26,716.

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