Slumping Boston College hosts Miami in ACC play

NCAA Basketball

The Boston College Eagles, who have lost four straight games and eight of their past nine, will host the Miami Hurricanes in an ACC game on Tuesday night in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

In the past week, Boston College (2-9, 0-5 ACC) has played two teams ranked in the Top 25: Duke and Virginia. The Eagles lost by a point at Duke and then dropped a 12-point decision to visiting Virginia.

“We knew coming into the season that with the schedule we play, we couldn’t worry about records,” Eagles coach Jim Christian said.

The Eagles have lost some heartbreakers. In addition to the Duke game, Boston College lost in overtime to Minnesota and led Villanova — ranked third in the nation at the time — by nine points in the season opener.

But in Saturday’s 61-49 loss to Virginia, Wynston Tabbs — Boston College’s leading scorer — was held scoreless, missing all nine of his shots. The Eagles were also without starting point guard Makai Ashton-Langford (knee injury) and forward Steffon Mitchell (calf).

Miami (5-5, 1-4 ACC) knows all about injuries. Frontcourt players Sam Waardenburg and Rodney Miller — who combined to start 52 games last season — are out for the season.

In addition, starting guards Chris Lykes and Kameron McGusty have also been out, though there is a chance one or both of them will return to face Boston College. Lykes, who led Miami in scoring last season (15.4), has played just two games in the current campaign. McGusty, who averaged 10.2 points, has played in only five games.

Still, after three consecutive losses by a total of just five points, the Hurricanes broke through on Saturday, beating North Carolina State, 64-59.

It was career win No. 655 for Miami coach Jim Larranaga, moving him past the legendary John Wooden on the all-time list.

Larranaga said the Hurricanes were able to defeat NC State because they paid attention to details. For example, Miami had averaged 16 turnovers per game during their losing streak. Against NC State, Miami had just 12 turnovers — and none over the final 12 minutes.

“In practice, we put a strong emphasis on little things, like inbounding the ball,” Larranaga said.

Miami, which is ranked No. 32 in the nation in KenPom.com defensive efficiency, trails Boston College 26-25 in the all-time series. However, in their past 21 meetings, Miami is 17-4.

The Hurricanes won last season’s matchup, beating the visiting Eagles 85-58. Miami’s Isaiah Wong scored a game-high 21 points.

Despite that rout, three of the past five games between the teams have been decided by one or two points.

Tabbs leads Boston College in scoring (13.3), and Mitchell tops the team in rebounding (6.6).

CJ Felder, a 6-7, 230-pound forward, leads the Eagles in field-goal percentage (54.2). He is shooting a blistering 72.2 percent on two-point shots.

“(Felder) has gotten better every day in practice,” Christian said. “He shoots more than everyone on our team. The ball deserves to go in for him.”

Wong leads Miami in scoring (17.5), and 7-footer Nysier Brooks tops the team in rebounds (6.4).

–Field Level Media

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