CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Unable to ride the momentum from a rare win earlier in the week, Boston College fell to Miami, 77-56, yesterday to end the regular season.
The Eagles (9-21, 4-12 Atlantic Coast Conference) had lost 10 of 11 before beating Georgia Tech in their home finale on Wednesday, but couldn’t come up with the offense necessary to compete with the Hurricanes.
BC shot 43 percent from the field and went 5 for 11 from the free throw line, while Miami shot 50 percent from the field and went 9 for 15 from the stripe.
“I thought Miami was terrific offensively,’’ BC coach Steve Donahue said. “And I thought we were a little soft on our closeouts with the shooters, but they played extremely confident and at a great pace. Out of any team in the league they’re so much different than us with the age and experience, and I think that really showed.’’
The rematch was a far cry from their previous meeting Jan. 29, which was close until about six minutes left when Miami broke a tie with a 3-pointer with 6:18 left and went on a 27-5 run to win, 76-54.
“We let them get into a good comfort zone early and they started making shots and we couldn’t really recover from that,’’ said BC forward Ryan Anderson.
BC went ahead, 16-15 - the Eagles’ only lead - with 12:45 remaining in the first half on a 3-pointer from Jordan Daniels, but the Hurricanes quickly regained control.
Miami went on to hit 7 of 9 3-pointers in the first half, including back-to-back from Malcolm Grant and from 5 feet outside the arc by Durand Scott at the buzzer.
The Hurricanes racked up their largest halftime lead of the season, 21 points (46-25). Their previous mark was 18 against Florida Gulf Coast Nov. 22.
“They’re as talented as anyone I’ve seen in the country offensively, and I really mean that,’’ Donahue said. “They have more scorers, they’re deeper than most teams in the league . . . not a lot of teams are as offensively skilled as them, so when you go against a team like that it exposes us. But they’re aren’t a lot of teams in the league like Miami.’’
The second half was much of the same as Miami (18-11, 9-7) shot effectively to keep BC at a safe distance.
Matt Humphrey led BC with 16 points and four steals. Anderson added 11 rebounds, and Daniels and Dennis Clifford each contributed 11 points. Scott and Kenny Kadji paced Miami with 14 points apiece.
“There are days like this where it tests you, no question,’’ Donahue said. “But we beat Florida State and we’re in those five games that we should’ve won, and I think right now, unfortunately, we’re running on fumes.’’
The Hurricanes, meanwhile, kept their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. BC viewed the loss as yet another learning experience for the freshmen-laden team heading into the ACC tournament.
“Coach made a good point in the locker room of over the next six months in the offseason, we have to be able to guard a team like that,’’ Anderson said.
Donahue wouldn’t say how many ACC teams should get invitations to the Big Dance, but did empathize with all of the hopefuls.
“I feel for everyone trying to get into this tournament,’’ Donahue said. “I will say that I think the league is a lot better than people think, or thought going into this year. Teams like Miami and N.C. State and Virginia are all worthy of getting into the NCAA Tournament.’’
Beyond the ACC tournament, which begins Thursday in Atlanta, BC is looking forward to the future because of the experience their young players have gained this season.
“I think we’ve gone through almost everything you can go through,’’ Anderson said. “We’ve played more basketball than most sophomores in college have played, so I think we’re really confident and we have a good foundation that we’ve built this year and we’re going to be fine moving forward.’’