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The Cavaliers couldn't come up with an answer to Joe Rahon's 3-pointer with 10 seconds left.
MARK L. BAER | USA TODAY Sports
Boston College guard Joe Rahon (25) hits a three-point basket to defeat Virginia on Sunday.
Sunday, March 3, 2013
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Twenty-nine games into the men's basketball season, Virginia seems to have established its identity.
Or, rather, both of them.
There's the team that can beat anybody in the country at home, as demonstrated Thursday night against No. 3-ranked Duke.
Then, there's the team that squandered an 11-point lead Sunday at Conte Pavilion and dropped a 53-52 decision to Boston College.
It was UVa's eighth loss of the season, seven on the road or at neutral sites, including five to teams with losing records.
"This loss stings as bad as anyone that we've had all season," said UVa junior Joe Harris, who had a career-high 36 points Thursday night in a 73-68 victory over Duke.
Harris hit the front end of a one-and-one free-throw opportunity to give the Cavaliers a 52-50 lead with 29 seconds left but barely grazed the rim on his second attempt, which was rebounded by the Eagles.
After a timeout, Boston College freshman Joe Rahon hit a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left and was fouled by UVa freshman Evan Nolte.
Rahon missed the free throw, Nolte got the rebound and the Cavaliers gave the ball to point guard Jontel Evans, who drove downcourt, only to dribble the ball out of bounds with 0.4 seconds left.
The Cavaliers' Akil Mitchell intercepted BC's inbounds pass and quickly launched a 3-pointer that he swished from a step beyond midcourt, but officials already had motioned that the shot would not count.
Of the Cavaliers' nine losses, seven have been decided by six points or fewer. However, Sunday's loss was the first for Virginia when it had a lead in the final minute.
Coach Tony Bennett confirmed that Virginia had one timeout at its disposal after Rahon's miss.
"Perhaps I should have called timeout," Bennett said. "We had our play call in and [Boston College coach Steve Donahue] had switched a couple of times to a zone.
"Not that we don't have a play against a zone, but especially after a miss, I thought we could really get something at the basket in a two-point game and, if they really sunk in, maybe there would be a 3."
Bennett figured that the Eagles (13-16. 5-11 ACC) would be tough at home, where they had dropped a pair of one-point decisions to ACC frontrunners Miami and Duke.
Virginia (20-9, 10-6) led 43-32 following a 3-pointer by freshman Taylor Barnette with 10:24 left, but that was followed by a 7-0 BC run. Still, UVa was able to stretch its lead to 49-41 on a Harris jumper.
A Mitchell dunk with 2:17 remaining gave the Cavaliers a 51-46 lead but their only scoring the rest of the way was on Harris' lone free throw.
Mitchell, who was 8-of-11 from the field, had 16 points to lead all scorers. Harris had 14 points, but was 4-of-11 from the field, twice launching long 3-point attempts that caromed off the backboard without touching the rim.
"Today he was off," Bennett said. "He wasn't himself."
Harris was beating himself up over the missed free throw that could have given UVa a 3-point lead with less than 30 seconds left.
"As the leader of the team, I've got to be able to knock down both shots, especially in situations like that at the end of the game," Harris said. "It would have given us more security defensively on that last Boston College possession.
"I didn't play well enough, down the stretch especially, for us to win the game. I've got to take it upon myself to finish and close games out."
Rahon not only hit the game-winner but he also had the defensive assignment on Harris for most of the game.
"He's one of those kids that nothing rattles him," Donahue said. "Even on that last play, I wanted him to be the guy. Then, to hold a kid like Harris to 14 ... I think [Harris gets] my vote for ACC player of the year.
"I'm not sure how it all happened. We had a reason to pack up our tents when they went up 10. I thought they [the Cavaliers] sensed that it was over."
History should have told Virginia otherwise. UVa had dropped a 66-60 decision at Georgia Tech after leading by nine points with under eight minutes remaining.
"It's not like we were taking Boston College lightly," Harris said. "We know how important all these games are for our [NCAA Tournament] resume."
Mitchell 8-11 0-0 16, Evans 2-7 0-0 4, Jesperson 3-6 0-0 9, Harris 4-11 4-5 14, Anderson 1-5 1-2 3, Barnette 1-2 0-0 3, Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Tobey 0-1 0-0 0, Nolte 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 20-47 5-7 52.
BOSTON COLLEGE (13-16)
Odio 4-7 0-0 8, Anderson 2-5 4-4 8, Hanlan 5-9 2-2 13, Rahon 5-9 2-3 15, Heckmann 3-7 0-0 9, Jackson 0-3 0-0 0, Clifford 0-1 0-2 0, Rubin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-41 8-11 53.
Halftime—Virginia 25-24. 3-Point Goals—Virginia 7-15 (Jesperson 3-5, Harris 2-4, Barnette 1-1, Nolte 1-3, Anderson 0-2), Boston College 7-18 (Rahon 3-5, Heckmann 3-6, Hanlan 1-2, Odio 0-2, Jackson 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Virginia 25 (Mitchell 8), Boston College 26 (Anderson 9). Assists—Virginia 12 (Evans 4), Boston College 11 (Anderson 3). Total Fouls—Virginia 15, Boston College 12. A—5,062.
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