Boston College knew it had something special with its backcourt, but the support system for Jerome Robinson and Ky Bowman has also been pretty good so far. The Eagles will try to keep the rotation running smoothly and remain perfect on the young season when they meet up with Texas Tech in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut on Saturday.
Grad transfer Deontae Hawkins had 22 points and eight rebounds to lead Boston College to a 73-53 win over Sacred Heart on Tuesday, the second straight game that someone other than Robinson and Bowman - who averaged a combined 33 points last season - led the way on the offensive end. The Eagles seek their first 4-0 start since 2007-08 against a Red Raiders squad that has yet to be seriously tested in a pair of home games, including an 83-44 rout of Maine, whom Boston College defeated in its opener. “For the most part especially in the first half when we played well we dialed in defensively,” Texas Tech coach Chris Beard told reporters after his team raced to a 49-13 halftime lead against the Black Bears. “I think the start of the game, good shooting helps but we were dialed in defensively as well.” Keenan Evans led a balanced effort with 12 points and he has hit double figures in 22 straight contests for Texas Tech.
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ABOUT TEXAS TECH (2-0): Evans has 12 points in both games so far while leading scorer Zhaire Smith (12.5) - a freshman guard - has made nine of his first 11 shots as a collegiate, and has a team-high 12 rebounds. Senior forward Zach Smith, who led the team on the glass last season and ranked second to Evans on the scoring list at 12.1, tops the squad in playing time early on but has just one basket in 47 minutes. The Red Raiders have held their first two opponents to a combined 27.2 percent mark from the floor while forcing 41 turnovers.
ABOUT BOSTON COLLEGE (3-0): Hawkins, who is averaging 13.3 points and a team-leading 11.3 rebounds, stepped up to give his team a pep talk in the locker room after the Eagles trailed 31-30 at the break Tuesday. “He knows what to say to the team, but he also goes out and does it. And I think that’s a big part of leadership,” coach Jim Christian told the media. “He was phenomenal. That’s what winners play like.” Hawkins also took it upon himself to give Robinson a verbal boost after the junior star struggled through a 1-for-14 shooting night.
1. The winner will face either LaSalle or No. 20 Northwestern in the championship game Sunday, while the loser takes on one of those teams in a consolation affair.
2. Bowman leads the Eagles in scoring (14) and assists (5.3) while freshman F Steffon Mitchell is averaging 12 points on 73.3 percent and 7.7 boards.
3. Boston College has won two of the three previous meetings, both wins coming in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 1985 and 2007.
PREDICTION: Boston College 74, Texas Tech 72