Justice scores 29, IUPUI stuns BC, 76-69
BOSTON (AP) — IUPUI coach Jason Gardner had an extra reason to smile on his 38th birthday.
Cameron Justice scored five of his game-high 29 points in the closing three minutes, carrying IUPUI to a 76-69 upset of Boston College on Wednesday night.
“It was a great win for our team,” Gardner said after the school picked up just its second-ever victory over an Atlantic Coast Conference school.
The Jaguars, from the Horizon Conference, beat Georgia Tech on December 29, 2001 for their only other win against an ACC member.
“Honestly, it’s a great feeling,” Justice said. “We talked about this when we first saw it on the schedule. We felt like we can go into here and Richmond and play well and come out with the ‘W.’ “
It was the first-ever meeting between the schools and was part of the Fort Myers Tipoff.
“If they look into the mirror today, they’ll know they didn’t give effort,” BC coach Jim Christian said.
Evan Hall added 16 points and 10 rebounds for IUPUI (2-1). Justice, a junior transfer from Vanderbilt, went 7 of 19 from the floor and was 13 of 13 from the free-throw line.
The teams were tied at 64 with just under five minutes to play before IUPUI went on a quick 5-0 spurt. Justice capped it with a jumper in the lane.
After a basket by Bowman, Justice nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing, making it 72-66 with 1:38 to play.
BC sliced it to 72-69, but Nick Rogers hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired with 28.9 second left to seal it.
IUPUI had taken its first lead since the game’s initial basket, 56-55, on Grant Weatherford’s 3-point play midway into the second half.
In the first half, BC hit 10 of its initial 16 shots – and 5 of 8 on 3s – to open a 27-13 edge before the Jaguars answered with a 12-5 spurt.
The Eagles smothered IUPUI with tight on-the-ball defense, helping lead to some wide-open looks in transition before the Jaguars started getting easier shots off screens and cuts.
“We didn’t start great,” Gardner said. “They were doing a good job of attacking us and I thought overall our guys did a great job of not settling and not panicking.”
BC pushed its lead back to 10 (37-27), but had it whittled to 42-36 at halftime.
“When we got a 10-point lead, I thought we stopped playing,” Christian said. “I’m always going to take responsibility for it, it’s my team.”
IUPUI: The Jaguars kept charging back despite falling behind by double digits twice early. Losing the top three scorers from last season, it looks like they’re starting to find out who’s going to pick up the slack.
Boston College: Christian was disappointed how poorly his team shot the first two games. One of the keys to that is the outside shooting of Chatman, a spot-up shooter. He hit 5 of 8, including 4 of 6 on 3-point attempts.
Justice and Hall were high school teammates at Knott County Central in Hindman, Kentucky. They fed off each other’s play well, especially in the second half.
“He’s pretty much my biggest fan,” Justice said. “If I get going, he’s right there with me. If I’m playing bad — like I was struggling shooting the ball tonight — he came over to me and said: ‘I’m going to give you the ball to get a shot up.’
“He’s comforting to play with.”
On the first possession of the second half, IUPUI had three offensive rebounds before Hall hit a short jumper in the lane.
“I thought we ended the first half with a lot of emotion and energy,” Christian said. “In the second half, we just didn’t compete.”
IUPUI: At Richmond on Friday at 7 p.m.
Boston College: Faces Wyoming in Fort Myers, Florida on Monday at 9 p.m.