West Virginia outlasts Boston College 70-66
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) West Virginia coach Bob Huggins arrived in Puerto Rico this week expecting to see his team face tough situations.
If it continues to handle those situations the way it did against Boston College, the Mountaineers have a chance to go far this season.
Devin Williams, Juwan Staten and Jevon Carter had 15 points apiece as West Virginia rallied in the second half to top Boston College 70-66 in the semifinals of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Friday.
The Mountaineers shot less than 30 percent in the first half, but shot 62 percent in the final 20 minutes.
They also had 10 steals while forcing 21 Eagles’ turnovers.
”Today they made shots. Today Devin played like I think Devin can play. Devin manned up today,” Huggins said. ”But he didn’t do it until the second half…We had all kinds of missed opportunities.”
Olivier Hanlan led Boston College with 23 points. Patrick Heckmann added 14 points and seven rebounds.
Boston College shot the ball well and scored 40 points in the paint, but allowed West Virginia 17 second-chance points.
”We had control of the game in the first half and we let them get so comfortable offensively in the second half,” Eagles coach Jim Christian said. ”We kind of made some careless, careless turnovers down the stretch and some fundamental things that we need to correct.
”I think as guys got tired, we stopped attacking it.”
The Mountaineers chipped away at what had been a 12-pont deficit to take their first lead of the night, 50-48, on a layup by Carter midway through the second half.
The lead grew as high as six before a free throw by Hanlan got the Eagles back within 60-58 with less than four minutes to play.
After Eagles’ center Dennis Clifford fouled out, West Virginia attacked the lane, scoring five straight points to push its lead back to seven.
The Eagles weren’t done, surging again with back-to-back baskets.
West Virginia missed a layup out of a timeout, and Aaron Brown found Hanlan for a layup. He was fouled on the play, but missed the tying free throw.
Carter grabbed the rebound and found Devin Williams, who was fouled on a layup. He converted on his free throw to put the Mountaineers back up 68-64.
Boston College had one more chance, trailing 69-66 after Heckmann hit a pair of free throws, but the Eagles would lose a scramble for the ball and were forced to foul.
Huggins said he hasn’t seen much of Connecticut this season, but said history suggests it will be another tough game.
”It will be a challenge, but we’ve had great games with them over the years,” he said.
Boston College: Both teams had 10 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes, but the Eagles were able to inch out to a 32-21 halftime advantage shooting 56 percent from the field (13 for 23).
West Virginia: This will be Huggins fourth time coaching in the championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. He won it twice as Cincinnati’s head coach.
West Virginia plays No. 17 Connecticut in the championship game Sunday. Boston College gets Dayton in the third place game.
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