Boston College Eagles soar over UMass Minutemen

Thursday, Dec. 24

CHESTNUT HILL -- University of Massachusetts guard Anthony Gurley answered the question about his own performance against Boston College on Wednesday night. But the junior from Newton could have been talking about the Minutemen after their 79-67 Commonwealth Classic defeat at the hands of the Eagles before 6,519 noisy fans at Conte Forum.

"It's one of those nights, you know. Every night's not going to be Christmas," Gurley said after the Minutemen fell to the Eagles of the Atlantic Coast Conference. "We just have to find other ways."

Gurley scored a game-high 23 and had a career-high 10 rebounds for the Minutemen (6-6), and was one of three to score in double figures. He also shot only six for 20 from the field in the game. So he was a little off-target.

He wasn't the only one. Leading scorer Ricky Harris managed 12 points, 10 in the second half. He shot 5 for 16 from the floor and has been struggling from the field since injuring an ankle and not playing in the win against Grambling. In the two games since Harris was hurt, he has shot only seven for 27 from the floor.

"I don't want to make excuses," Harris said. "I'm not shooting the ball the way I'm capable of shooting."

"We can't shoot three for 21 ... against an ACC team on their home court and expect to come out victorious," UMass coach Derek Kellogg added.

The Eagles have now beaten Kellogg twice in the Commonwealth Classic, winning 83-81 last year at Amherst.

Joe Trapani and Corey Raji each had 18 points to lead Boston College (8-4) to the victory. Raji scored all 18 of his points in the second half.

It was a far cry from Saturday night at the TD Garden, when Terrell Vinson's putback as time expired gave UMass a 73-72 upset win over Memphis.

"I was happy we won against Memphis, and it hurts when we lose," Kellogg said. "I thought we had two great days of practice, an unbelievable shootaround [Wednesday], and I thought BC just played a little better."

It was an important game for both teams as the Minutemen wanted to build off the victory over Memphis, while Al Skinner's Eagles had lost two of three before beating Bryant on Sunday afternoon.

While never leading, UMass kept it close early in the second half, until the Minutemen went stone cold.

Sean Carter (career-high 16 points) muscled past BC's Joe Trapani for two points, cutting the Eagles' lead to 49-44 with 11:39 left.

The Eagles answered when Trapani set a nice screen for Biko Paris, who drained a 3-pointer from the top of the arc, putting the Eagles up eight. UMass never got back in the game after that.

Credit some BC defense, but shovel a portion of blame on a UMass offense that went without a basket for 6 minutes and 44 seconds.

"We did go on a little drought there," Kellogg said. "I thought we had some good looks that didn't go in. I thought we had as many open threes that we missed that we have in a long time. There were a bunch that were wide open. When you're playing an ACC on their home floor, you have to take advantage of every opportunity."


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