BOSTON (AP)—Jared Dudley had Boston College heading for an easy victory over No. 16 Virginia Tech on Saturday when he was called for three fouls in four minutes.
That’s when the BC bench picked up the pace.
With three subs on the floor for the last seven minutes of the first half, Boston College extended its lead to as many as 23 points and coasted to an 80-59 victory over Virginia Tech.
“When he goes out, it’s not like the whole team is leaving. We’ve still got to play ball,” Tyrese Rice said of Dudley, who had 30 points and 11 rebounds. “People know that when Dudley goes down, we can’t look at it as a loss. We’ve got to keep going hard.”
Rice had 20 points and eight assists while playing all 40 minutes to help the Eagles (16-6, 7-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) improve to 2-3 against ranked teams and beat one for the first time since shotblocker Sean Williams was kicked off the team Jan. 17. BC, which had been tied with the Hokies for second place in the ACC standings, have beaten them six times in a row.
“All we did was hold court. It hasn’t separated us from anybody, we haven’t done anything exceptional,” BC coach Al Skinner said. “We’re trying to remain at the top of this league. It’s going to be tough, and it’s going to be competitive.”
Deron Washington scored 18 points and Zabian Dowdell scored 17 for Virginia Tech. Jamon Gordon had eight points and 10 rebounds. Virginia Tech (15-7, 6-3) has beaten North Carolina and Duke but struggled against the unranked, including consecutive losses to North Carolina State and Boston College.
“It’s really disappointing, because we know we’re a better team than this and we can play better than this,” Washington said. “I can’t even figure it out. It seems like we’re struggling right now. It seems we need a break right now to figure out what we need to do.”
The Hokies will get that break: They have a week off. But then come Virginia and third-ranked North Carolina, followed by N.C. State and BC.
“They were just tougher than us in every aspect of the game and we’ve got to resolve that,” coach Seth Greenberg said. “It’s good that we have a week off and we can kind of regroup. You’re going to have games like this, that’s just the way this league is.”
Rice hit a pair of 3-pointers in the opening minutes to stake BC to a 10-1 lead and the Eagles, wearing their new gold uniforms, never trailed. BC scored 14 consecutive points midway though the first half—eight of them by Dudley— to turn a five-point lead into a 33-14 lead.
But Dudley also picked up three fouls during that stretch, forcing him to go to the bench with 6:59 left in the first. Virginia Tech couldn’t make up any ground against a lineup that included reserves Tyrelle Blair, Marquez Haynes and Tyler Roche.
Instead, BC extended its lead on an offensive rebound by Roche, leading to a Haynes’ 3-pointer. Blair blocked another shot, and Rice followed a steal with a 3-pointer to make it 39-16 with 4:52 left.
The Hokies got within 13 with four minutes left before Dudley hit a 3-pointer to stop the comeback.
Tech’s appearance in the rankings this season is its first in a decade, and it climbed as high as No. 16 this week. But a loss to North Carolina State on Wednesday, coupled with Saturday’s loss to BC, could drop them out of the poll.