Deontae Hawkins had said most of what he had to say by the time Boston College coach Jim Christian joined his players in the locker room at halftime, with his team trailing Sacred Heart at the break.
‘‘He’s not a big talker, but when he does talk they listen,’’ Christian said after BC rallied to a 73-53 victory over the visiting Pioneers on Tuesday night. ‘‘They have so much respect for what he’s done and the experience he’s had.’’
Hawkins, a graduate transfer who was the leading scorer at Illinois State last season, scored 22 points with eight rebounds for the Eagles (3-0). But Christian was at least as impressed with what happened at halftime, when Hawkins preached for his teammates to ‘‘play our principles’’: communication, staying in your gap, helping the help.
‘‘He knows what to say to the team, but he also goes out and does it. And I think that’s a big part of leadership,’’ Christian said. ‘‘He was phenomenal. That’s what winners play like.’’
Ky Bowman scored 14 and Steffon Mitchell added 13 and nine rebounds for BC, which has never lost in nine tries against Sacred Heart (0-2). The Eagles trailed almost the entire first half, then went on a 19-3 run in the second to turn a 5-point game into a blowout.
‘‘We just had to calm down, play our principles,’’ Hawkins said. ‘‘I think it was a lack of communication out there.’’
Joseph Lopez had 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Pioneers, and Mario Matasovic scored 14. Sacred Heart shot just under 50 percent for the first half; in the second, the Pioneers made just 7 of 30 shots from the field and missed all nine 3-point attempts.
The announced attendance at Conte Forum was 643.
Sacred Heart opened an 8-point lead in the first four minutes and nursed it, still leading 27-21 with 5:48 left before the half. But BC scored 7 of the next 9 points — two baskets and a 3-pointer from Hawkins — to make it a 1-point game.
The Eagles scored the first 4 points of the second half to take the lead for good and outscored the Pioneers 43-22 in the second.
BC’s Jerome Robinson was 1 for 14 from the field and 1 for 3 from the line, finishing with 4 points. The Eagles’ leading scorer last season, he had not scored fewer than nine in a game in 11 months.
Hawkins said he told him to ‘‘just keep his head up.’’
‘‘We got the win. That’s what’s most important,’’ he said. ‘‘Just keep shooting that ball. Everything is going to play out the way it’s supposed to play out.’’
BC returns to action Saturday with a game against Texas Tech at Mohegan Sun.