Tabbs’ 28 points helps carry BC past Sacred Heart 81-73

BOSTON (AP) — Wynston Tabbs certainly isn’t playing like an inexperienced freshman. He continues to be a pleasant surprise, helping Boston College get off to a fast start this season.

Tabbs scored a season-high 28 points, Ky Bowman had 15 and the Eagles beat Sacred Heart 81-73 on Thursday night.

“I’m not going to force it,” Tabbs said. “I’m letting it come to me when we run the plays, how we do it in practice.”

It was Tabbs’ fifth time in double figures this season.

“I was really happy with him,” BC coach Jim Christian said. “I think Wynston never came outside of what he does well today. He didn’t break off plays, trying to do too much.”

Nik Popovic added 14 points and Jairus Hamilton had 10 with nine rebounds for the Eagles (6-1). It was Boston College’s fourth straight win. Tabbs had seven rebounds and five assists, and Bowman added six assists.

E.J. Anosike led the Pioneers (3-5) with 22 points and Sean Hoehn scored 19.

The Eagles led 34-24 at halftime and their lead didn’t fall below nine points until the final two minutes of the game.

BC used an 18-2 spurt over nearly a six-minute stretch in the game’s opening minutes to pull in front 20-4. Hamilton’s consecutive 3-pointers 50 seconds apart capped the spree. Tabbs’ 3 started the run and Bowman added a trey during the spurt when the Eagles held the Pioneers without a basket for 4 ½ minutes.

“We started the game taking away all their strengths, which is what we emphasized,” Christian said. “As the game got on and we got up a little bit, we allowed them to get back in the game and allowed them to make runs at us with their strengths.”

Despite shooting only 41.2 percent (14 of 34) in the first half, the Eagles led by 10 at intermission. They relied on tough defense that forced Sacred Heart into a number of rushed or contested shots, especially in the key spurt, and turned the misses into quick transition and some wide-open shots.

“When you’re playing a team like Boston College — an ACC team — I think our guys were a little nervous,” Sacred Heart coach Anthony Latina said of the start. “Defensively they were switching a little bit, which we had not seen.”

BIG PICTURE

Sacred Heart: The Pioneers struggled early with the taller and more athletic Eagles. Once they settled in, they started to look more poised on offense which should help when it comes to their Northeast Conference schedule.

“As the game loosened up, we got a little more comfortable,” Latina said.

Boston College: Coming off a solid win over Minnesota earlier in the week, the Eagles entered the easier part of their schedule where they should be able to pick up wins before entering Atlantic Coast Conference play.

PERFECT 10

The Eagles improved to 10-0 lifetime against the Pioneers – with all of the games on BC’s campus.

FRESH LOOK

Freshman and highly-touted recruit Hamilton posted his first career double-digit scoring game, collecting all 10 of his points in the opening half on 4-for-6 shooting.

“I thought he did play well,” Christian said. “He came in confident and shot the ball well.”

UP NEXT

Sacred Heart: At Lafayette on Sunday afternoon.

Boston College: Hosts Providence on Tuesday night.