So much for that Duke undefeated season.
Boston College stunned the previously-unbeaten No. 1 Blue Devils on Saturday as the Eagles used a huge outing from their backcourt in an 89-84 ACC home win.
Playing in only its second true road game of the season, Duke struggled mightily to contain Boston College’s dynamic backcourt trio of Ky Bowman (30 points), Jerome Robinson (24 points) and Jordan Chatman (22 points). The Eagles shot 57 percent from three-point range (15-for-26) as they snapped a 23-game losing streak against top-25 teams.
Here’s three takeaways from this one.
1. THIS IS THE MOST SHOCKING LOSS OF THIS YOUNG COLLEGE BASKETBALL SEASON
Duke was the No. 1 team in the country entering Saturday. The Blue Devils were undefeated and featured a lineup that includes the potential No. 1 pick, Marvin Bagley III, and multiple other first-round talents.
And Boston College has only two ACC wins the past two seasons and just lost graduate transfer forward Deontae Hawkins for the season with a knee injury earlier this week.
In other words, this is the craziest loss of this young college basketball season.
Yes, Duke is a young team playing in only its second true road game of the season. We already know the Blue Devils have a penchant for slow starts. But losing to Boston College, a team picked to finish last in the ACC by many this preseason, is an alarming defeat for a national title contender.
The Eagles have some talented guards (more on them in a moment) but this is going to be a loss that could haunt Duke’s NCAA tournament resume when they try to secure the No. 1 overall seed.
2. BOSTON COLLEGE’S GUARDS SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY
Ky Bowman might have just played the best game we see from an individual player all season. It’s been noted before that the 6-foot-1 sophomore from North Carolina was passed over by the in-state juggernauts. Every time Bowman faces one of those schools from Tobacco Road it provides an extra chip on his shoulder.
But Bowman was completely out of his mind on Saturday. Not only did Bowman finish with 30 points but he also added 10 rebounds and nine assists. Facing a team full of future pros, Bowman was the undisputed best player in this game.
While Bowman did have some turnover issues with six on the afternoon, he had to do so much to create for himself and others that it really didn’t matter. Even battling foul trouble in the second half, Bowman stayed in attack mode as he was relentless in helping on the glass for an undermanned frontcourt.
It also helped that Bowman had big-time performances from Robinson and Chatman. Robinson was 5-for-5 from three-point range on Saturday while Chatman was 5-for-9 from distance. Having three red-hot guards is the reason Boston College won this game.
I doubt that we’ll see the Eagles shoot this well from three-point range again, but this game also put the rest of the ACC on notice that Boston College has one of the league’s best backcourts.
3. DUKE NEEDS TO GET THE FRONTCOURT MORE INVOLVED
Again, Boston College was missing third-leading scorer and leading rebounder Deontae Hawkins for this game (and the rest of the season) after an unfortunate knee injury during the week. That meant that an already thin frontcourt for the Eagles had virtually no depth on Saturday.
Boston College only played seven total players and reserve forwards Vin Baker Jr. and Johncarlos Reyes barely played.
So why wasn’t Duke force-feeding their ultra-talented frontcourt duo of Marvin Bagley III (15 points and 12 rebounds) and Wendell Carter (10 points)? Not only was Boston College completely overmatched on the interior but they didn’t have bodies if they got into foul trouble.
During a game in which most of Duke’s roster was cold from the outside (26 percent from three on 8-for-30 shooting), Bagley and Carter only combined for 17 field goal attempts. When Grayson Allen (14 points) is going 5-for-20 and two talented big men only shoot 17 times combined, that’s never a good sign. Bagley played the full 40 minutes and only attempted 11 shots. For a potential Player of the Year, that’s outrageous. How do you not get those guys more touches in a game like this?
Credit Boston College’s defense and rebounding for a scrappy effort but Duke should never get outrebounded against a team like the Eagles with the kind of talent that they have. That’s embarrassing. Obviously, there are many things Duke needs to address following a loss like this but getting Bagley and Carter more involved would be a start.