Eagles Clinch First-Round Bye with "W"

Craig Smith

In their second to last game of the regular season, Boston College was led by their two stars, Craig Smith and Jared Dudley, in an 80-65 victory over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

Smith and Dudley scored 23 and 22 points respectively in a game, marking the fifth time they have both scored over 20 points since they started playing together during the 2003-2004 season.

Louis Hinnant and Tyrese Rice combined to contribute 19 points from the point guard position, including a collective three of four from three-point range.

Although the Eagles made some eye-opening mental mistakes, this game as a whole was one of their most sound performances of the year. They out-rebounded the Demon Deacons by a margin of 33 to 24. BC shot 80% from the free throw line while going 28 for 35, and they shot 60% from three point range. Coach Skinner's favorite stat of the night was that 19 of the Eagles' 23 baskets were assisted.

"I think that shows great ball movement, and that is a great way for us to play," Skinner said after the game.

Although Boston College played a solid game, Wake Forest made it a fairly close contest in the second half. Forward Eric Williams converted a three point play at 9:46 of the second half that cut the Boston College lead to only seven.

BC responded furiously. The Eagles went on a 9-0 run in the next minute which caused Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser to not only take a timeout, but also caused him to receive a technical foul for arguing with the referee. Wake Forest did not cut the lead to single digits for the rest of the game.

Boston College did an excellent job of containing Wake Forest Seniors Justin Gray and Eric Williams. Gray came into the game averaging 18.7 points per game, fourth in the ACC. The duo were held to 10 points apiece.

This win moved BC's conference record to 10-5, but more importantly the Eagles clinched a spot in the top four of the ACC which gives them a first round bye for the ACC tournament.

"I think we made a big accomplishment in getting the bye, and it improves our chances in the tournament," Skinner said during his post-game press conference. "In this league especially, it is almost impossible to win four games in four days against this level of competition, its hard enough to win three."

BC can still finish as high as second in their inaugural ACC season with a win on Saturday in their final home game against Virginia Tech. Tip off for Saturday's game is at noon, but fans are urged to come 20 minutes early to help BC honor their senior players Craig Smith, Tyler Neville, and Louis Hinnant.

When asked about Smith and Hinnant's final game at Conte Forum Coach Skinner responded with the following:

"I hope people really appreciate the kind of career Craig and Louis have put together these past four years. I don't know off the top of my head, but it would seem to me they have had the most success of any two players in BC history."

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