No. 6 Boston College 74, Rutgers 64
BOSTON (AP)—Boston College had to wait eight days to make up for its only loss of the season. That was bad luck for Rutgers.
Sean Marshall scored 22 points and Jared Dudley had 14 points and 12 rebounds as No. 6 Boston College escaped a mid-game scare to beat the Scarlet Knights 74-64 on Wednesday night. It was the Eagles’ first game since a loss to Notre Dame ruined their chance at an unbeaten season.
“We were tired, banged up a little bit,” BC coach Al Skinner said. “We were able to get some rest. We had a little more bounce in our step.”
Boston College (21-1, 10-1 Big East) led the entire game until Rutgers scored 11 of 15 points early in the second half and took its only lead on Ricky Shields’ 3-pointer with 12:19 left. But Dudley answered with a 3-pointer that made it 46-44 and Craig Smith scored 11 of BC’s next 15 points to help put the game away.
“They don’t feel like they can lose right now,” Rutgers coach Gary Waters said. “When the game gets close, everybody wants to take the shot. You can see it.”
The Eagles, who lost 68-65 at Notre Dame on Feb. 8, will take a 1 1/2 -game lead over No. 9 Syracuse into their game on Saturday.
“These games are the hardest because you don’t want to get caught looking ahead,” Dudley said. “No one was talking about Rutgers. Everyone was talking about Syracuse. That’s the game of the year.”
Shields scored 16 points and Byron Joynes had 12 rebounds for Rutgers (8-14, 2-10). The Scarlet Knights, who have lost seven of their last eight, were coming off a loss at Providence in which they provided the Friars with their only conference win of the season.
BC beat Rutgers 76-44 last year when both teams were mired in the middle of the Big East standings. This year, with the Eagles among the top teams in the country, Rutgers put up more of a fight.
“I have yet to see a team in this league that’s going to come out and quit. I expected them to give a good effort. I don’t care what their previous record is,” Skinner said. “Rutgers is not a bad team. It’s just a young team right now.”
Marshall, who was 4-for-8 from 3-point range, hit one to give BC a 34-23 lead with 2:09 left in the first half. But Rutgers scored the last six points of the half and then cut the deficit to 39-37 early in the second.
It was 43-41 when Shields hit a 3 from the left corner to put Rutgers ahead. The Knights led for 31 seconds before Dudley hit a 3 from the top of the key and Smith made one of two free throws after being fouled on a breakaway dunk attempt.
Smith came down hard after the shot and took a while to get back up. He had only a slight limp and did not leave the game. After the game, he had an ice pack on his left leg.
Smith then put back his own miss and, after Shields hit another 3, made a short jumper in the lane to make it 51-47.
Marshall hit a 3-pointer with 2:46 left to cap a 23-9 run that made it 66-53.
Marshall, a sophomore, was one point from his career high.