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Olivier Hanlan, BC hand top-ranked Syracuse its first loss

02.19.14 at 9:37 pm ET
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After 20 minutes of Boston College‘s game at top-ranked Syracuse on Wednesday night, with the Eagles trailing 25-17, coach Steve Donahue had a message for his team: “I just said at halftime, ‘Let’s just win ugly. Let’s do whatever it takes,’ ” Donahue recalled in a postgame interview on ESPN. “To beat a team like Syracuse, that’s what you have to do.”

BC came out for the second half and cut down on its turnovers (just two in the second period), heated up from long range (seven 3-pointers) and controlled the pace (slow). That led to a shocking 62-59 overtime victory, the Orange’s first loss of the season.

Olivier Hanlan scored 20 points for BC (7-19, 3-10 ACC) and Lonnie Jackson netted 10. Ryan Anderson contributed nine points and 14 rebounds.

Jackson, a 56 percent free throw shooter, went 4-for-4 from the line in the final 26 seconds of OT to help secure the win.

Jackson’s last two free throws came with 11 seconds left to give the visitors a three-point cushion. On Syracuse’s ensuing possession, Trevor Cooney air-balled a 3-point try from the top, and the Orange fumbled away the rebound. Ryan Anderson grabbed it and threw it high in the air to run out the clock.

BC’s celebration was tempered by thoughts of longtime sports information director Dick Kelley, who died last Thursday night after a long battle with ALS.

“It’s been an emotional week for us at BC,” Donahue said. “It’s been an emotional season. We lost one of our colleagues in Dick Kelley. Just the emotion of this game. I’m speechless. I’m so happy for our guys and all the adversity they’ve faced this year. Obviously a huge win for our program.”

The win was BC’s first over a top-ranked team since a 2009 victory at North Carolina.

C.J. Fair had 20 points and 11 rebounds for Syracuse (25-1, 12-1), which shot just 32 percent from the field and 16 percent from behind the arc. Tyler Ennis amassed 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

Syracuse scored the last seven points of the first half and then the first five points of the second period to take a 30-17 lead. BC responded by going on a 29-12 run, taking a 46-42 lead with 6:12 left after a Joe Rahon 3-pointer. After Syracuse retook the lead, Hanlan hit a layup with 47 seconds left to tie the score at 50. Syracuse missed two chances to win in the final 31 seconds, including a miss in the lane by Rakeem Christmas (nine points, 11 rebounds) with four seconds left, as Anderson defended.

The Eagles opened the extra period with 3-pointers on two of its first three possessions, from Hanlan and Patrick Heckmann, giving them a 56-52 lead. Syracuse fought back and took a one-point lead with 1:12 left on an Ennis free throw.

Heckmann put BC ahead for good when he went back door and hit a reverse layup off a pass from Anderson with 43 seconds left.

After a Syracuse miss, Jackson was fouled on the ensuing inbounds attempt and hit both ends of the 1-and-1 to make it 60-57. Syracuse closed to within one when Christmas tipped in an Ennis missed layup with 13 seconds left. Jackson hit two more free throws with 11 seconds left to close out the scoring.

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