BC's upset bid falls short vs. NC State

NEWTON, Mass. -- When trying to upset a Top-25 team on your home floor, there are certain things you just can't do:

  • You can't take bad shots, heaving up deep 3s like you're playing "NBA Jam" and a hot spot just appeared beneath your feet.

  • You can't miss free throws, giving up chances at unhindered points.

  • You can't commit bad fouls, such as running into the ball handler 60-odd feet from the rim with your team in the penalty.

  • And you can't suddenly go cold from the floor, failing to score for minutes at a time.

History tells us you can't do those things and win. Yet the Eagles did all that and still had a chance to upset No. 23 NC State in a nationally televised game Saturday afternoon.

The Eagles didn't always take smart shots, shot 64.9 percent from the foul line, committed bad fouls and went long stretches without scoring but still found themselves neck-and-neck with the Wolfpack late in the second half.

After Joe Rahon hit the first of two free throws to tie the game at 59, his second shot bounced long and Ryan Anderson tipped it to Patrick Heckmann to give BC another shot. Lonnie Jackson converted, nailing a 3 to put the Eagles up 62-59 with less than six minutes to play.

That was a glimpse of the good things the young Eagles did, and the 3 got the crowd fired up. But the next possession was a glimpse of the bad, as Rodney Purvis wound up wide open off an inbounds pass and hit a 3 to tie the game.

BC wouldn't lead again. With time running down late, trailing by three, Rahon had a good look at a game-tying 3 but the shot fell short, clanging off the front iron. NC State got the rebound and held on for a 78-73 win.

"As I told the guys, I thought we did a lot of things really well in terms of things that you're gonna need to do to win the game," BC coach Steve Donahue said. "I thought we were tough and physical and competed and took care of the basketball, fought through adversity with foul trouble.

"But to win a game against as talented a team as that, we gotta do certain things that we typically do. One of them is shoot foul shots. We're a better foul shooting team than that."

The Eagles came into the game shooting 74 percent from the line. Hitting that average might not have made the difference Saturday, but it would have helped.

"Hopefully it was just one of those fluke things," Anderson said. "We have great shooters on this team throughout the whole roster. Hopefully we just move on to the next game, and I think they'll drop in the next one."

"When it comes to game time, we've gotta knock them in," Rahon said. "There's no excuse for missing them."

The game was entertaining, seesawing back and forth throughout.

BC ripped off a 10-1 run in the first; NC State answered with a 12-2 run. NC State opened the second half with an 8-2 run to take a seven-point lead before BC answered with a 9-2 run to tie the game at 39.

The Eagles (8-6, 0-1 ACC), winners of five straight entering the game, weren't surprised to be hanging with the Wolfpack (12-2, 1-0), winners of seven straight coming in and eight straight going out.

"We know we can play with anybody," Rahon said. "So staying close with NC State -- maybe should have beaten NC State -- we expect to be in that situation. … Just being in those kind of situations, in the future down the road it will prove to have helped us.

"But right now we're just disappointed we didn't come through."

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.