Boston College 61, No. 6 Duke 57

Another big upset for Scott Brown’s family.

Just a few hours after her father was sworn in as the newest

member of the U.S. Senate, Ayla Brown helped Boston College knock

off sixth-ranked Duke 61-57 on Thursday night.

“He sent me a text message before the game saying, ‘I wanted to

be at the game, but I’m so proud of you. Win it for me,”’ Ayla

Brown, a backup forward on the Eagles and a former American Idol

contestant, told The Associated Press. “And that’s what we

did.”

Carolyn Swords scored 14 points and added nine rebounds for BC

(13-10, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), going 8 for 8 from the line

in the final 5 minutes. It was the Eagles’ first victory over a

ranked team since beating then-No. 2 Ohio State in the second round

of the 2006 NCAA tournament.

Jasmine Thomas scored 19 points for Duke (18-4, 6-1), which has

spent 200 straight weeks in the AP Top 25.

“It only takes one game like this to turn our team around in

terms of our confidence level,” BC coach Sylvia Crawley said.

“Until that happens, you’re always intimidated by those teams.

This is huge for this team. A mindset is a hard thing to change. I

think they are coming around in terms of believing in what we’re

doing.”

Brown scored six points, making a key basket midway through the

second half after Duke went ahead 41-38 to match its biggest lead

of the game. Swords hit a pair of free throws to give BC the lead,

and though the game remained close the Eagles never trailed

again.

Swords went 10 for 10 from the line in all, and BC made 20 of 21

free throws in the game as they fought back the Blue Devil’s

attempt at a comeback.

“If we’re going to be a special team, we’ve got a long way to

go,” Duke coach Joanne McCallie said.

Scott Brown, a former state senator, overcame a double-digit

deficit in the polls to stun Democrat Martha Coakley and win the

seat that had been held by Ted Kennedy for almost 50 years. At a

Capitol Hill ceremony on Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden swore

him in as the Senate’s 41st Republican – giving the GOP the vote

they need to filibuster Democratic initiatives.

So, which was the bigger upset?

“I think Brown over Coakley is a bigger upset, because that’s

for the state of Massachusetts,” said Ayla Brown, who had an

active role in the campaign. “But in my eyes, this is the biggest

upset I’ve ever experienced in my basketball career.”

And that even made it worth missing her dad’s big day.

“Obviously, I wish I was there,” Ayla Brown said. “But at the

same time, I have a job to do. That’s why I stayed behind, and he

understood.”

It was the second straight victory for BC, which beat Miami on

Sunday after losing its previous four games. The Blue Devils had

won four straight since losing to top-ranked Connecticut 81-48, but

they’ve played just two games in the past 11 days.

The rust showed early.

Duke fell behind 7-0 but the game was tied 30-all at halftime

and the Blue Devils opened a 41-38 lead before Brown’s jumper and

Swords free throws to give the Eagles the lead. Duke tied it one

last time when Thomas came out of a timeout and hit a floating

jumper from the side of the key to make it 55-alll with 59 seconds

left.

But Brittanny Johnson made a pair of free throws and then Swords

– shaking off a timeout called to ice her – did the same. By the

time Bridgette Mitchell’s basket brought Duke within two points,

there were only three seconds left.

After Picco’s foul shots iced it and the last second ticked off

the clock, the BC players ran to the center of the court to

celebrate.