The Montana Grizzlies stuck with BC for the whole first half; the Eagles went into halftime with a 32-30 lead. In the second half, BC showed that killer instinct they have been lacking for most of the season by taking a lead as large as 21 points on a Jared Dudley three point play with 4:51 left in the game.
BC was led by their senior Craig Smith who had another dominant performance while looking like a man amongst boys. Smith scored 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. A large chunk of Smith’s points were scored at the end of the first half when Montana was up 25-20 and Smith tallied all of BC’s points on an 8-0 run that put them up for good.
“He’s a big, physical guy, you can’t leave him for a minute,” said Montana forward Andrew Strait. “A lot of his points on came on second shots.”
It wasn’t only Smith who was grabbing boards, BC as a team outrebounded the Grizzlies by a margin of 43-24.
Jared Dudley added 20 points of his own, and Tyrese Rice and Louis Hinnant were the other Eagles who scored in double figures with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Although making the sweet sixteen is a cause for excitement, the Boston College team knows they haven’t won anything yet and still have a long way to go.
“We should feel good about what we did, but at the same time I think the guys know we have a lot of business to take care of,” said senior captain Louis Hinnant, “I was real happy that we just shook hands and walked off the court, there wasn’t a lot of celebrating.”
BC now travels to Minneapolis to face the winner of their former Big East rival, Villanova against Arizona, both of which would be the toughest matchup BC has seen in this tournament.