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No. 18 Virginia suffers brutal loss to Boston College, 60-53

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Hoos mount late comeback, but fall on the road.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Boston College Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that didn’t go well. The No. 18 Virginia Cavaliers went on the road and dropped an ACC game as Boston College picked up a 60-53 win. It was Virginia’s first road ACC loss since losing at Duke last season (Jan. 19). With the loss, the Cavaliers fall to 11-3 (3-1 ACC).

Braxton Key led Virginia with 16 points and eight rebounds, but the thing to watch will be the senior’s wrist as he appeared to have re-injured the one he had surgery on earlier in the season. Without Key, Virginia’s already razor-thin margin for error gets much smaller.

Kihei Clark (12 points) and Kody Stattmann (11 points) both hit double digits for the Hoos, but Virginia shot just 32.7% from the field and 18.8% from three for the game.

After such a strong outing against Virginia Tech, the Hoos struggled defensively against BC as the Eagles shot 44.7% from the field, including 17-for-30 from two. BC’s starting guards — Jay Heath and Jared Hamilton — combined for 35 of the Eagles’ 60 points.

Boston College was down two starters as both point guard Derryck Thornton and big man Nic Popovic, making the loss even more inexcusable for the Hoos. Boston College got out to an early lead, and — outside of a late run from the Cavaliers — controlled the game.

Diakite got things started with a jumper to put the Hoos up 2-0, but then committed two fouls in the first :52 seconds. Coach Bennett benched him, and Virginia would go on to miss seven straight shots as Boston College scored six straight. Huff’s second personal foul came at the 14:42 mark of the first half, and first year Justin McKoy came into the game in his stead.

Two free throws put the Eagles up 8-2, but Key was able to break the 5:21 scoring drought for the Cavaliers. Boston College responded with back-to-back jumpers after a miss from Woldetensae outside, giving the home team an 8-point lead with just over 13 minutes left in the first half. Key cut that deficit to six with two made free throws, but Boston College’s first three of the game quickly made it 15-6.

Once again it was Key that kept Virginia within striking distance with a layup, but the Hoos couldn’t capitalize on a turnover and the Eagles built the lead with another three. Clark joined the scoring with two free throws after drawing a charge call, making it 18-10 with 9:57 left in the half.

Diakite, back in the game at the 11:15 mark, came up with a huge block, and Clark found Key in transition for the old-fashioned three-point play to bring Virginia back with five. Steffon Mitchell answered with a layup, and BC added another point at the line to regain its 8-point lead.

Huff, back in the game himself with two fouls, finally got one to go as he followed a miss from Key. Stattmann made the most of BC’s second turnover with a made jumper, cutting the Eagles’ lead to 21-17 with 6:35 remaining. Boston College would turn it over on its ensuing possession, but this time Stattmann’s shot late in the shot clock wouldn’t fall. A missed layup by Boston College led to a transition three for Clark — Virginia’s first of the game — and a 1-point deficit just over a minute later.

Morsell was unable to give Virginia its first lead of the game, and a block attempt on the other end led to Huff’s third foul of the first half and Mitchell would make one of two at the line. BC quickly pushed its lead back to four at 24-20 after a turnover from Chase Coleman, and Key’s three-point attempt wouldn’t fall with 3:13 left on the clock.

A mini-scoring drought of 2:53 allowed Boston College to build a 6-point lead, but Stattmann canned a contested three to cut the deficit in half. Francisco Caffaro sent Jared Hamilton to the free throw line on a called illegal screen, and he made both to push the lead back to five. Key quickly scored his fourth bucket of the half to pull within three, but a terrible stretch for Clark led to two turnovers and an easy bucket for Boston College.

Key would finish Virginia’s first half scoring at the line, where he made one of two to pull the Hoos within four at 30-26. Virginia shot just 34.6% from the field, going a paltry 2-for-10 from beyond the arc. Diakite played just six minutes in the first half thanks to his foul trouble, and Key led the team with 12 points on 4-for-7 shooting.

Defensively, Virginia was a mess as they let BC shoot 42.3% from the field and score 30 first half points. The Cavaliers committed eight fouls, and the Eagles went 6-for-10 from the free throw line over the first 20 minutes of the game. Jay Heath led BC with nine points in the first half, six of which came from his two made threes.

Finishing the half with just five turnovers seemed like an improvement over previous games, but BC took advantage of them to the tune of eight points.

Boston College got on the board first in the second half on a layup, pushing its lead to six. A dunk from Diakite got the Hoos within four once again, but CJ Felder got another layup and a foul (Diakite’s third) to once again give the underdogs a 7-point lead at the under-16 timeout. Hamilton’s bucket was answered with two free throws from Key to keep things within reach, but BC connected on a banked-in three to give them a 10-point advantage with just under 15 minutes to play.

The Eagles got out to their biggest lead of the game after a jumper from Hamilton made it 42-10. Stattmann cut it back to 10 with a layup, and Huff made it 42-34 with his second bucket of the game with 12:42 left on the clock.

Another layup for Stattmann made it 42-36, and Diakite added one point at the free throw line to claw back within five with just over 11 minutes remaining. The Virginia defense started to come alive a little as Diakite swatted a shot and Huff managed to go 1-for-2 at the line to make it a 42-38 game. Another Boston College turnover led to a foul by the Eagles, with this one sending Clark to the line for a 1-and-1. He made both, closing the Hoos back within two as Virginia rattled off a 10-0 run as the clock ticked through 10 minutes.

Boston College ended its scoring drought with a tough jumper, and Virginia’s ninth turnover ended their chance at cutting into the lead further. The Eagles couldn’t connect on a three late in the shot clock, and Stattmann pushed his point total to 11 with another spinning layup to make it 44-42.

Virginia looked like they were going to get the ball back down just two, but the referees said Clark deflected it. Huff was called for a foul on the ensuing possession, but Mitchell would hit just one of two at the line to keep it a one possession game with eight minutes to play.

Clark chose an excellent time for his first three as he tied the game, then came up with the steal and assist in transition to Diakite for Virginia’s first lead since it was 2-0. Diakite connected on the free throw following the play, making it 48-45 in favor of the Hoos with 6:49 remaining.

Virginia bolstered its lead with two free throws from Clark, but Boston College cut it back to one possession with its first field goal in 2:57 of play. Another Eagles layup closed Virginia’s advantage to one, and Heath tied things at 50 at the free throw line.

Diakite had a chance to put Virginia up by two, but made just one at the free throw line to give the Hoos a 51-50 led with 3:16 remaining. BC missed a layup, but Stattmann turned it over on a called travel. Heath put the Eagles ahead 52-51 on the next possession, putting the pressure on the reigning national champs to answer on the road with 2:17 left.

BC built it’s lead to two on a bizarre sequence that involved a missed free throw and an inexplicable foul call on Key, but Key tied the game at 53 with 1:38 to play. The back-breaking shot came with 38 seconds left on the clock as BC hit a three after Key missed a layup with lots of contact.

Diakite missed a three with 18 seconds on the clock, and BC would be able to win the FT shooting battle down the stretch to pull off the upset.

Virginia has until Saturday to lick its wounds as the Hoos welcome Syracuse to town for an afternoon game.