Batten scores 18, Boston College beats Virginia Tech, 66-59
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) For nearly all of this season, Olivier Hanlan has carried Boston College. So much so that many consider him the ACC's best player.
But Monday night, he got some help.
Dimitri Batten scored a career-high tying 18 to lead the Eagles to a 66-59 road victory over Virginia Tech.
Batten hit 7 of 9 from the field, including a career-high four 3-pointers for the Eagles (11-18, 3-14 ACC), who won their second straight after upsetting North Carolina State on Saturday. He led four players in double figures, including Hanlan, who scored just 15 after coming into the game averaging 22.6 per game.
''The last three halves of basketball - the two halves against NC State and the first half here - were as well as we've played all year,'' BC coach Jim Christian said. ''Some guys have stepped up for us and made plays. Dimitri Batten made some shots, Patrick Heckmann made some plays. It helps. It wasn't just Olivier and Aaron Brown carrying the team.''
BC took control midway through the first half and never looked back. Virginia Tech (10-20, 2-15) led 19-17 after a 3-pointer by Devin Wilson with 8:40 left in the first half, but the Eagles outscored the Hokies 24-9 to close out the half, using a 14-2 run to grab the lead, with Batten hitting two 3-pointers during that stretch.
''I just focused more,'' Batten said. ''The coaches said to just focus and play the game. The team kept passing me the ball, and I just kept shooting it. I had some open looks and made some, and that built my confidence throughout the game.''
The Eagles shot 63 percent (17 of 27) in the first half and hit 5 of 11 from beyond the 3-point arc in grabbing a 41-28 lead. Virginia Tech shot just 38.5 percent (10 of 26) in the first half.
''I thought we did a great job of attacking them in transition,'' Christian said. ''We got some layups. We got some open 3-point shots. We were just in a good rhythm. We only had two turnovers. We played really well.''
Boston College then opened the second half with an 11-2 run and took a 52-30 lead, its biggest of the game, on two free throws by Garland Owens with 15:44 remaining.
The Hokies cut the lead to 60-54 on a 3-pointer by Adam Smith with 2:13 to go and had a chance to cut into the lead even more. But Smith missed a 3-pointer with 1:18 left, and Aaron Brown gave the Boston College a 62-54 cushion on two free throws with a minute remaining.
The Eagles made 4 of 6 from the line in the final in the final 46 seconds to seal it.
''I'm disappointed in the effort of the first 20 minutes,'' Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. ''That's not been what we've talked about over the last few weeks.
''Good players and good coaches are excited just to play. We had no excitement in the first half.''
Hanlan finished 15 points for the Eagles, who shot 52.4 percent (22 of 42). Brown scored 13 and Dennis Clifford had 10 and nine rebounds.
Smith paced the Hokies, who have lost six straight games, with 22 points.
BC: Hanlan has scored in double figures in 28 of BC's 29 games . Hanlan now has 1,663 career points and moved past Michael Adams (1,650 points) into 12th on the school's career scoring list . Hanlan had averaged 27.5 points per game in the month of February and shot 53.9 percent from the floor . Batten came into the game averaging just 6.7 points per game . Batten also came into the game having hit just 10 3-pointers all season.
Virginia Tech: Smith has scored in double figures in 11 straight games . Justin Bibbs, the Hokies' second-leading scorer coming into the game (12.1 per game), came off the bench for the fourth straight game and had just five points . Virginia Tech's freshmen are playing more than 51 percent of the minutes so far this season - the highest percentage by a freshman class in the ACC.
BC plays at home against Wake Forest on Saturday
Virginia Tech plays at home on Saturday against Miami.