BOSTON (AP) — Boston College had one too many sharp-shooting guards for Syracuse’s zone defense to contain.
Ky Bowman scored 23 points, Jerome Robinson had 22 and the Eagles snapped a three-game losing streak by dealing Syracuse’s NCAA tournament hopes a serious blow with an 85-70 victory on Wednesday night.
It wasn’t surprising the duo put up another solid game. They entered averaging a combined 37.1 points per game. It was the added scoring of Jordan Chatman that made it tough on Syracuse.
Chatman had 18 points for the Eagles (17-13, 7-10 Atlantic Coast Conference). BC went 14 of 27 on 3-point attempts.
“At halftime, we said: ‘Chatty you’re going win this game,'” BC coach Jim Christian said of the 6-foot-5 Chatman. “Against the zone, he’s one of the better zone-buster players in the country.”
Chatman was 5 for 10 from beyond the arc.
“He’s the one I worry most about. He’s their best shooter,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “Those guards are as good as any guards in the country and Chatman’s as good as any shooter as you’re going to find.”
Tyus Battle paced the Orange (18-12, 7-10) with 29 points. Oshae Brissett had 18 points and nine rebounds for Syracuse, which lost its third straight.
Chatman knew his shots would come against a team playing zone.
“Yeah, I’m going to get a lot of 3s if they play zone,” he said. “If I make a lot of shots, it opens things up for everybody else.”
The Eagles had opened a 58-45 lead on Robinson’s steal and breakaway jam with just under 12 minutes to play, but the Orange sliced it to 58-51 on Battle’s 3-point play.
The Eagles then took charge by scoring 15 of the next 21 points. Robinson and Bowman combined for 10.
In the opening half, BC moved the ball well, finding open shots outside Syracuse’s 2-3 zone. The Eagles went 9 for 17 on 3-point attempts in the half en route to a 40-37 edge at the break.
Like usual when Syracuse visits BC, a large contingent of fans were dressed in Orange. A handful of times during the game they broke into chants of ‘Let’s Go Orange!’
They didn’t have much to cheer for in the opening 14 minutes when Syracuse fell behind by double digits. But the Orange went on an 11-0 run late in the half to slice their deficit to three at halftime.
Syracuse: The Orange were coming off consecutive losses against ranked teams (North Carolina and Duke), but this one could be the resume-killer in their bid for an NCAA tournament berth.
Boston College: The Eagles continue to show growth in the ACC. They surpassed their combined total of six regular-season wins for the previous three seasons. … Freshman Steffon Mitchell injured his left hamstring, went to the locker room and came back on crutches.
Guard Frank Howard added 17 points for the Orange, but the rest of the team combined for only six.
“The bottom line is we’ve got three guys that are doing the scoring. We don’t have other guys that are scoring,” Boeheim said. “This team’s battled all year. They’re trying as hard as they can. I can’t even get upset. I think people think these guys can score.
“They can’t and it puts huge pressure on the other 3 guys. Those guys are not capable of scoring right now — this year.”
BC student Joseph Landry, a freshman, won $2,100 during a timeout in the opening half. He had to hit a layup, free throw, 3-pointer and half-court shot in 30 seconds for the progressive pot that’s carried over without a winner all season.
He did it in five shots, missing only one half-court attempt before swishing the prize winner.
BC started Johncarlos Reyes in place of Nik Popovic. Christian said Popovic was hurt and didn’t practice.
Syracuse: Hosts No. 18 Clemson in its regular season finale on Saturday.
Boston College: Closes its regular season at Florida State on Saturday.