Boston College retired the No. 2 jersey of former two-time All-American guard Troy Bell on Saturday afternoon, during halftime of its 61-56, skid-snapping victory against Virginia Tech at Conte Forum.
Bell, who played for the Eagles from 1999-2003, remains the school’s all-time leading scorer (2,632 points) and was an All-American in 2001 and 2003. He’s also still the all-time leader in 3-pointers made.
“I never envisioned this moment,” he said at a morning press conference, standing on the court. “I had great teammates and coaches. We were having a great time, doing something we would have done for free. To be here and being honored is amazing.”
He was joined on the court by his former coach Al Skinner, the school’s all-time leader in wins, who got a loud ovation when they showed him on the video board seated courtside earlier in the game.
Bell thanked the crowd “even the ones that aren’t old enough to remember me.”
Before closing with: “Let’s get a win, go Eagles!”
They did so, ending a four-game losing streak despite trailing the Hokies by double digits in the first half and not taking a second-half lead until 4:17 remained. Jairus Hamilton made two key 3-pointers in the final six minutes and finished with a career-best 23 points, and Jay Heath added 15 points for BC (10-10, 4-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), which barely shot better from the free-throw line (11 for 27, 40.7 percent) than the 3-point arc (8 for 20, 40 percent).
“Like I told our team after the game, there’s a lot of ways to win it,’’ Eagles coach Jim Christian said. “You can win a game on defense and I thought we won on defense today.”
Jared Hamilton had his only two baskets of the game in the final 3½ minutes for the Eagles, who face three tough tests in a week — No. 6 Louisville on Wednesday, at North Carolina next Saturday, then No. 8 Duke on Feb. 4.
For the period of 1999–2003, prior to BC’s 2005 defection to the ACC, Bell led all of college basketball, averaging 21.6 points per game. He was the Big East rookie of the year in 1999–2000 and captured the MVP award in the league’s 2001 postseason tourney, carrying BC to the championship.
“There’s so many good memories and good moments,” he said. “The best memories are when you actually win something. Winning a Big East tournament was huge.”
Bell did say that there was one person that he wished could have been here to watch a banner with his name on it go up into the rafters in the west end of the building.
“The only thing I wish, I wish my dad could have been around. My dad passed like a year and a half ago,” he said. ‘‘We’re just going to try and take it all in and party it up for my dad, because I know my dad would be the proudest out of everybody.”
Landers Nolley II led the Hokies (14-6, 5-4) with 15 points.