BOSTON (AP)—Boston College coach Al Skinner finally feels like he can start getting his team ready for the season.
Jared Dudley had 16 points and eight rebounds and the 14th-ranked Eagles, bolstered by the return of center Sean Williams, rolled to an 89-55 victory over Harvard on Thursday night.
“Everyone else in America has assembled their team, we’re just starting,” Skinner said. “It clearly gives us the depth we’ve been lacking and it allows us to do some things defensively. It’s probably the best 40 minutes of play we’ve had defensively.”
Williams was cleared to return earlier Thursday after being suspended from the school following his arrest for marijuana possession.
Williams, a 6-foot 10-inch shot blocker, looked rusty in 12 minutes, finishing with two points, two rebounds and two blocks. He was suspended after his May 20 arrest on campus. Boston College said that it checked academic information from the University of Houston, where he took classes this semester.
“I don’t know if I was rusty out there,” Williams said. “I felt anxious.”
“Did he look rusty?” Skinner asked jokingly.
Craig Smith had 14 points and Tyrese Rice and Marquez Haynes each added 13 for the Eagles (8-2).
Evan Harris had 18 points for the Crimson (8-4), who were 22-of-67 from the field.
“We saw more hands above the rim than we’ve seen all year,” Harvard coach Frank Sullivan said.
The Eagles led 9-0 just 2:53 into the game. They pushed the lead to 22-10 on Rice’s 3-pointer 11:43 into the half and Harvard was never closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
BC led 39-21 at halftime after holding Harvard to 25 percent shooting (8-for-32).
The Crimson were no match inside for the much taller Eagles. BC overcame 24 turnovers by shooting 61 percent (38-for-62) with many of the shots uncontested.
In the second half, Williams, who looked winded at times, blocked his two shots and altered a few others.
“Even if he doesn’t block a shot, he’s going to change the shot,” Dudley said. “It’s going to harder for those ACC post players.”
The highlight of the second half came when Smith, a preseason All-America forward, hit a shot while sitting on the floor near the 3-point line as the shot clock expired. He had tripped while attempting to drive the baseline.
Rice’s 3-pointer increased BC’s lead to 70-40 with 6:17 to play.
Williams was cleared after he “fulfilled all the terms of his university and team suspensions,” the school’s athletic department said in a statement. He was given a nice ovation when he entered the game 9:01 into the first half.
Williams said he had been working out with former NBA star John Lucas while he was in Houston.
“If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think I’d be back at BC,” Williams said.
It was the 42nd meeting between the schools, dating to the first contest on Jan. 15, 1906, which Harvard won 42-6.