History, tradition, and conference prestige were working against Boston University yesterday. But the Terriers did not behave like underdogs as they took a 75-61 nonconference win over Boston College at Conte Forum, their first victory over the Eagles in 37 years.
“I didn’t know about the statistics until a little bit later - ’74, the last eight tries, or something like that,’’ said BU’s Darryl Partin, who led the way with 27 points. “So we don’t get a chance to play them too much. It was definitely a good win and something we wanted to get, keep the win streak going.
“We prepare every game to just go out and play as hard as we can. So, whatever the outcome is, a win’s a win. But we definitely had a little extra motivation for this game.’’
BU (4-4) and BC (2-6) appear to be headed in opposite directions. The Terriers have a four-game winning streak and the Eagles have not won a game in regulation since their season opener against New Hampshire Nov. 14.
But BC, which last lost to BU in 1974 (95-94 in overtime), seemed on the verge of taking control a couple of times before faltering badly, partly through its own failings, partly because of the Terriers.
“The way college basketball is now, you have older players who have won championships, they have a chance to beat almost anybody on a neutral site, for sure,’’ BC coach Steve Donahue said of the Terriers. “They’re going to have their hands full in the [America East] but they have the pieces to have a great team.’’
A 12-1 run gave the Eagles a 25-16 lead with 7:29 remaining in the first half. But BU scored 10 consecutive points in a two-minute span, taking a 26-25 lead on Partin’s foul shot with 4:35 left. Two free throws by BC’s John Cahill sent the game into halftime tied at 31.
The Eagles started strong in the second half, but slumped after Jordan Daniels’s free throw provided a 45-44 lead with 11:16 remaining.
BU took command with a 19-8 run, Partin’s 3-pointer providing a 63-53 advantage with 5:46 left. BC pulled within 65-59 on an inside move by Dennis Clifford with 2:50 to go, but that would be the Eagles’ last field goal.
“We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game,’’ BU coach Joe Jones said. “The score does not say what really happened in that game - that was a hard-fought game.’’
With nine freshmen on its roster, BC is off to its worst start since the 1998-99 season.
“We’re all competitors,’’ Donahue said. “In the same sense, I just can’t evaluate my team based on the scoreboard at this point. It’s just not fair to those kids. I want them to win. But the big picture - I can’t let it overwhelm my mind. We’re going to try like heck to win the next game [at Providence Thursday] and we’re going to get the guys prepared.
“Overall, I thought we guarded as well as we can in the halfcourt. I was a little disappointed in our transition D and they’re a good transition team. I think we played 33 minutes of pretty good basketball.
“[Our players are] in a situation very few college basketball players are in, and it’s not their fault. They try as hard as they can, doing everything I ask, they’re going to get better in the poise aspect.
“They’re in a state where they are kind of overwhelmed. We all had those classes in college - three classes in, and the professor is just over your head and you don’t know how you’re ever going to survive the next test. That’s what we’re going through. There are stretches where they feel good about themselves and stretches where they’re just overwhelmed.’’Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.