No. 16 Virginia brings unflashy game to Boston College

BOSTON — Clemson coach Brad Brownell expressed his frustration after his team’s narrow loss to then-No. 19 Virginia on Saturday.

“If you would have told me we were going to score 73 points and force Virginia into 16 turnovers, I would have told you we won the game,” he said. “But it didn’t happen. Marial (Shayok) and London (Perrantes) were terrific for them. They made big-time baskets throughout the game.”

Clemson scored the second-most number of points this season against the top defense in the country. But the Cavaliers survived the road test and go to Boston College on Wednesday night as the No. 16 team in the country.

They also make the trip with a 4-1 road record, 6-1 away from home counting neutral games. They are yielding just 53.4 points per game as they visit the Eagles, who are 9-9 overall and 2-3 in league games after going winless in ACC play last season.

BC is 2-0 at home in the league but coming off a loss at Syracuse — where the Eagles turned the ball over 15 times in the first half.

“We started off the game pretty well, it was 13-13, so we had a big 3 to take the lead,” Boston College coach Jim Christian said. “We play teams and they make a run on the road and we haven’t responded very well and that is what we have to get better at.

“That is what the good teams in this league do. Teams are going to make runs at home and we haven’t answered that run with sound smart play yet on the road.”

Virginia (13-3, 3-2 ACC) is one of those good teams.

The Cavaliers have a balanced attack, with Perrantes the only player in double figures at 12.1 points per game — the lowest scoring average ever to lead a Virginia team. But Shayok has scored 17 points — going 14-for-24 from the floor — in each of his two games since being added to the starting lineup.

“In practice you can see him coming,” said Virginia coach Tony Bennett. “He can score off the bounce. He’s creative at creating space, rising up, and he’s got a scorer’s mentality. I put him in the lineup, and whether that’s helped his confidence or not, I don’t think so. He’s just getting opportunities and he’s taking better care of the basketball.”

The Cavs are fifth in the country in fewest turnovers, 10th in scoring margin, 12th in both assist/turnover ratio and 3-point percentage, 13th in field-goal percentage and 18th in turnover margin. But the story is defense — earlier this season they became the first team in ACC history to hold three straight opponents under 40 points.

BC is led by two underclassmen — sophomore Jerome Robinson and freshman Ky Bowman, who are averaging a combined 32.5 points, 8.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. Robinson is tied for third in the ACC at 20.2 points per game.

The Eagles are 8-3 at home, but the home losses were against Nicholls State, Hartford and Harvard. They have defeated Syracuse and North Carolina State at home in the league.