BOSTON (AP)—Boston College has played a lot of close games this season, and they all turn out the same way.
Overtime against Holy Cross. Double overtime against Yale. A buzzer-beater to defeat Kent State. And now some late free throws to turn back Villanova on Wednesday night.
“I know we’ve put ourselves in that situation, and we’ve had success,” coach Al Skinner said. “But we don’t want to play that way.”
Jared Dudley hit two free throws with 5.5 seconds left to give No. 9 Boston College a 67-66 victory over the Wildcats.
Dudley scored a career-high 36—topping his previous best of 24 by one at halftime—and Boston College (15-0, 4-0 Big East) scored the last seven points of the game to remain one of four unbeaten teams in the country. Craig Smith scored 12 and was the only other player in double figures for the Eagles.
Villanova (9-4, 2-3) held a 66-60 lead with 2 minutes left before being shut out down the stretch. The Wildcats were the beneficiaries of a shot-clock error in the final minute but failed to capitalize and lost for the third time in four games. They play Kansas, another unbeaten, on Saturday.
Randy Foye scored 22 for the Wildcats, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one with 39 seconds left and then front-rimmed an off-balance jumper— over Dudley—at the buzzer. Mike Nardi scored 12 but missed a free throw with 25 seconds left with a chance to give Villanova a three-point lead.
“It’s all us. We can’t blame it on anybody else. We had the shots at the end,” Foye said. “If I had made both of my free throws and Mike made his, the game would have been over.”
Villanova led by six before Nate Doornekamp made a short jumper and drew a foul for a three-point play that made it 66-63 with 1:32 left. With 29 seconds left, Nardi fouled Dudley during a 3-point attempt, giving BC a chance to tie.
Dudley hit the first two free throws, but after a timeout he missed the third, leaving Villanova with a 66-65 lead. Nardi missed a free throw at the other end, Dudley got the rebound and BC had the ball with 15.7 seconds left.
A bad inbounds pass went into the backcourt, but BC eventually got the ball to Dudley underneath the basket and he was fouled in traffic. He sank both free throws to give the Eagles the lead.
“Who’s not nervous down by six with 1:30 left?” Dudley said. “You can get over nerves. I do. It just shows the will to win.”
Foye’s shot at the buzzer had no chance.
Dudley, the Big East player of the week after scoring 21 against West Virginia on Sunday, combined with Smith for 33 of BC’s 40 halftime points.
Nardi hit a pair of 3-pointers 97 seconds apart to help Villanova post a 10-0 run to take a 53-52 lead with 10:49 to play.
Villanova’s Jason Fraser was out with a broken right hand, but Chris Sumpter returned from a sprained right knee that kept him out for two games.
Boston College led 52-43 with 14:15 to play before the Wildcats scored 13 of the next 15 points, taking the lead on Foye’s 3-pointer with 10:12 left. Marcus Austin’s putback made it 62-60, and Foye followed with consecutive jumpers to extend the Wildcats’ lead to six.
Sean Williams blocked Nardi’s shot as the shot clock expired, and Boston College stopped playing when the buzzer went off. But the officials did not stop play and Villanova came down with the rebound.
After nine seconds of complaining by the BC bench, referee Tim Higgins called timeout and consulted with the scorer’s table. But the game was not televised, so there was no replay to review, and possession was restored to Villanova with 42 seconds left.
But Foye missed the shot and BC’s Jermaine Watson got the rebound.