For a little while, Boston College could allow itself to dream. After all, tournaments like these are made for upsets. And they already had gotten close, hadn’t they? What was a few more points?
All told, it was a pretty sweet minute and a half for the Eagles.
Twelfth-seeded Boston College threatened, drawing to within two points with a little less than six minutes left in Thursday afternoon’s game, but it wasn’t enough to unseat fourth-seeded Clemson, which held on for a 90-82 win in an ACC quarterfinal at Barclays Center. The Tigers will play No. 1 Virginia at 7 p.m. Friday. Boston College previously upset No. 5 N.C. State on Wednesday.
“I feel like [we did] what we’ve done all season,” said Gabe DeVoe, who led Clemson with 25 points and four assists. “We just stay composed when those situations happen. The game got close and we made a couple big plays on the offensive end and we were able to get stops defensively.”
Shelton Mitchell added 21 points and Elijah Thomas had 12 rebounds and eight points for Clemson. Ky Bowman had 23 for Boston College. Clemson scored 17 points on nine Eagles turnovers, and the bench kicked in 14 points.
Clemson led by 16 points 13:45 into the second half, but the Eagles — playing in their third game in three days — managed an unlikely late-game spark. Jerome Robinson hit a three-pointer with 7:47 left to kick off an 11-2 run that was capped by Bowman’s back-to-back threes, drawing the Eagles to 63-61.
Boston College held on for another minute and a half before Clemson took off, taking advantage of the Eagles’ tired legs and withering spirits. The Tigers outscored Boston College 11-3 in the next stretch and closed it down as the Eagles never seriously threatened again.
“We knew they would have tired legs,” DeVoe said. “We just tried to make them make the tough plays.”
Virginia beats Louisville. No. 1-ranked Virginia made relatively easy work of ninth-seeded Louisville, defeating the Cardinals, 75-58, in the first of Thursday’s quarterfinal games. The Cavaliers had five players score in double digits, led by Kyle Guy with 19. Devon Hall had 14 points and five assists.
Louisville managed to cut a 17-point first-half deficit to four with 8:55 left in the game, but Virginia scored the next six to create all the room it would need.
“We know we’re going to get everyone’s best shot,” Hall said. “We have the mindset of trying to come out [and] punch first . . . We’re a possession-by-possession team, so there’s not going to be many home run plays.”