By Mychal Hunter
I said it the other day, Jeff Capel’s hiring has made the Pitt job a three year rebuild instead of a five year rebuild. In what was most likely the last game for Boston College star Ky Bowman in a college uniform, the Eagles looked awfully flat. In the second seed upset of the day, Pitt hung on 80-70.
In the first half it looked as if Boston College came to play early, jumping out to a 7-0 lead behind some nice pick and roll action.
After some teaching moments, Pittsburgh Coach Jeff Capel was able to get his young team to buckle down and play some defense. Pitt erased the early seven point deficit and it was 9-7 in favor of the Eagles shortly after.
The rest of the first half was a bit nip and tuck with neither team really taking control until around the last 7 minutes when Pitt went on a massive run to lead at the break 36-21. Trey McGowans did a fantastic job on Jordan Chatman, who went 1-4 in the first half while Xavier Johnson held All-ACC second team member Ky Bowman to 1-5 from the field along with 4 turnovers. Pitt held BC to to 25% from the field and 2-11 from behind the arc.
Johnson also had his offensive game on display with 14 first half points, getting into the lane seemingly at will and wreaking havoc.
The Panthers shot 12-25 in the first half and went 9-13 from the line. They also out-rebounded the Eagles 22-13.
The second half was much of the same, Trey McGowens had the hot hand with 17 second half points and played with a ton of confidence. The largest lead of the night was up to 27 around the 12 minute mark of the second half.
Boston College chipped away and worked the score down to 58-44 at one point, and even down to 9 with 24 seconds to go, but Pitt quickly pumped it back after the former and made free throws to put it away late. Ky Bowman also did not play over the last couple minutes of the game leading color commentator Cory Alexander to wonder aloud if the high scoring guard was injured. Bowman finished with 14 points on 3-10 shooting.
The story of the game had to be Pitt’s ability to get into the lane. The Panthers outscored the Eagles 42-18 in the paint. Not that either team is very big, but Pittsburgh has no real post presence so that number represents Johnson and McGowens constantly getting to the hoop. McGowens finished with a game high 26 points while Johnson had 23.
Nik Popovic led Boston College with 21 point and 9 rebounds.