December 3, 2017 / 2:30 AM / 14 days ago

Preview: Boston College at Hartford

Boston College may have dropped a 71-62 decision to Nebraska on Wednesday in the Big 10/ACC Challenge, but the Eagles may have lost something even more important when grad transfer Deontae Hawkins went down with an apparent knee injury. With the ACC opener against Duke only a week away, Boston College might have to use Saturday’s road contest at Hartford as a testing ground on how to play without its leading rebounder and third-leading scorer.

BC also played the entire game without starting guard Jordan Chatman which left the Eagles playing without 31 percent of its minutes and scoring and 37 percent of its 3-point shooting on the night. '‘We’ve got guys out there who haven’t played all year,‘’ BC coach Jim Christian told reporters. '‘We’ve got two starters out in the first three minutes of the game. I’ve got Vin Baker, who’s played maybe 19 minutes on the year, playing 30 minutes.” Jerome Robinson led all scorers with 17 points on 6-of-17 shooting from the floor to go with seven rebounds and four assists, while Ky Bowman tallied 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the loss. Hartford, a member of the America East Conference, has won just 19 games combined the previous two seasons and has dropped three straight in 2017-18, including Thursday’s 79-78 thriller at LIU Brooklyn.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN3

ABOUT BOSTON COLLEGE (5-3): Freshman Steffon Mitchell started his first collegiate game and snared eight rebounds to go with five points, two assists, two blocked shots and a steal in 32 minutes against the Cornhuskers. It will be hard to replace Hawkins’ 12.4 points and 9.1 rebounds, especially in ACC play, if the 6-8 power forward is out for an extended period, which would likely force the Eagles to rely more heavily on sophomore sensation Bowman (15.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists) and junior Robinson (15.1 points, 3.1 assists). More production would also likely be needed from 6-11 sophomore Nik Popovic (8.5 points, 5.0 rebounds) and 6-10 sophomore Johncarlos Reyes, who tallied eight points, a team-best nine boards and a blocked shot in 17 minutes against the Cornhuskers.

ABOUT HARTFORD (3-5): Against LIU, Travis Weatherington scored 15 points and a trio of 3-pointers off the bench, including one that tied the game with five seconds left, before the Blackbirds hit a free throw with one second left to pull off the win. Junior guard Jason Dunne, who knocked down a 3-pointer with just over two seconds remaining to lift Hartford to a 65-63 win at BC last December, led the way Thursday with 19 points and five 3-pointers in 10 attempts. John Carroll, a 6-8 junior who chipped in 18 points and 11 rebounds, leads a team that returns eight of its top nine scorers at 17.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, while Dunne adds 17 points and junior point guard J.R. Lynch contributes 12 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists.

TIP-INS

1. The Eagles have dropped two straight and are 0-3 against teams from major conferences.

2. Hawkins averaged 14 points and 6.5 rebounds at Illinois State last year and shot 44 percent beyond the arc.

3. Boston College leads the all-time series 6-1.

PREDICTION: Boston College 85, Hartford 62

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