BOSTON (AP)—Four games into its first Atlantic Coast Conference season, No. 15 Boston College finally has a victory.
“It was bothering us,” said Craig Smith, who had 28 points and 14 rebounds Saturday to help the Eagles overcome a career-high 37 points from Al Thornton and beat Florida State 90-87 for their first win since joining their new league.
“It (stinks) not to have a win in your conference,” Smith said. “We got one today and we’re feeling a little bit better.”
Jared Dudley scored 25 points for BC (12-4, 1-3), including a second-chance dunk that put the Eagles up 85-81 after the Seminoles (11-3, 2-2) hit two 3-pointers to cut a 14-point deficit to two.
Alexander Johnson hit a 3 with 2:07 left, and Todd Galloway made one with 1:17 left to make it 83-81. BC’s Louis Hinnant drove to the basket and missed, but Sean Williams got the rebound and tucked a pass underneath to Dudley, who slammed it through.
Thornton made a couple of running bank shots, but Hinnant made four straight foul shots in the final 28 seconds and intercepted a desperation inbounds pass with 0.5 seconds left to clinch it.
“I was proud of our guys for fighting back at the end,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We just couldn’t get over the hump.”
Thornton scored the Seminoles’ last six points. He also had their first six — and 13 of their first 20.
“He had 37 but only one assist,” Dudley said. “They’ve got to get a lot of people involved to get a ‘W.”’
The win snapped a two-game losing streak and a three-game slide in the ACC for the Eagles as they start their first season since defecting from the Big East. They were well on their way to a fourth straight ACC loss before hitting five consecutive 3-pointers early in the second half to turn a two-point deficit into a six-point lead.
“We didn’t lose our composure,” BC coach Al Skinner said. “We just settled down. We didn’t at all panic. From a mental standpoint, guys weren’t down on themselves.”
Hinnant had 12 points and six assists for BC, which trailed by 11 points in the first half before opening an 80-66 lead with 5:36 to play. The teams had never played before.
Thornton had 17 points in the first half. In all, he was 15-of-18 from the field and 6-of-8 from the line to surpass the career scoring high he set in a victory over Alcorn State on Nov. 21.
“I have a lot of confidence in my ability to score, and the guys are getting me the ball,” he said.
Florida State has a week off before playing No. 20 North Carolina, which lost 81-70 to Miami on Saturday. The Seminoles were trying to match their win total from last season (12-19) and win three straight in the ACC for the first time in 11 years.
Florida State led 33-22 in the first half before BC scored eight consecutive points, four on putbacks, to cut the deficit to three. The Eagles trailed 38-34 at halftime.
The Eagles were 1-for-7 from 3-point range in the first half and 8-for-12 in the second. Smith was 12-for-14 from the line.