Two spirited second-half runs weren’t enough for the Boston College men’s basketball team Monday night.
Meeting for the first time since 2008 and just the second time since the Eagles departed the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference following the 2004-05 season, the Red Storm snapped a seven-game losing streak in the series with a 97-93 victory at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
The two bursts weren’t enough for BC (1-2), which held a 19-9 lead before falling behind St. John’s (3-0) by 20 points with 13 minutes remaining in the second half. The Eagles used a 14-0 spurt to get within 6 on a Makai Ashton-Langford layup with 9:59 remaining, and after falling behind by 13 at the under-4:00 mark, BC used a 14-2 sprint to get within a point on a pair of Wynston Tabbs free throws with 30 seconds to go.
“This is a really connected, really close group,” BC coach Jim Christian said. “They knew we shouldn’t have been down by that many, and we fought back.”
Trailing,96-93, with 24 seconds left, BC would have three chances to tie the score. After Tabbs, who led the Eagles with 23 points, turned over the ball to the Red Storm, St. John’s proceeded to give it right back after Julian Champagnie misfired on the ensuing inbounds play.
Jay Heath launched a 3-pointer for the Eagles, which hit off the side and top of the basket, but Tabbs was able to secure an offensive rebound. He dribbled out to the corner for one last chance to tie, but was stripped by Champagnie.
“They weren’t going to go away,” St. John’s coach Mike Anderson said. “They’ve got some veteran guys that have been around that enabled them to get back in it. I thought we got kind of passive.”
Champagnie notched a double-double for St. John’s, pacing the team with 29 points and 10 rebounds.
Five Eagles reached double figures in scoring, including 18 points from CJ Felder, 13 points from Ashton-Langford and Heath, and 11 points from Rich Kelly off the bench.
BC’s final game at Mohegan Sun is Thursday against Florida at 9:30 p.m. as part of the Roman Legends Classic. It’ll be just the third meeting between the Eagles and Gators, and first since Nov. 29, 1994, when Florida handed BC a 91-65 loss. The Gators also bested the Eagles in the Elite Eight the previous season, 74-66.