Home > NCAA > BC Upsets Duke in Spectacular Fashion + Exclusive Player Interviews

BC Upsets Duke in Spectacular Fashion + Exclusive Player Interviews

Ky Bowman and Grayson Allen battle for a loose ball in BC's upset over #1 seeded Duke. Photo courtesy of Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports.

Since 2007, Boston College has amassed a record of 50-121 in the ACC and a 141-191 record overall. They’ve only made the NCAA tournament once in the last 10 seasons, and they’ve struggled especially with conference games throughout coach Jim Christian’s four year tenure. Coming off of a week’s preparation, the Eagles found new energy in their matchup against #1 seed Duke.

Duke has faced a few rough games this season, but started the season with 11 straight wins, including defeating #2 seeded Michigan State and #7 seeded Florida. Led by Grayson Allen and Marvin Bagley III, the Blue Devils looked better than ever heading into their first conference matchup of the year.

Duke jumped ahead early, but never held a significant lead thanks to the Boston College’s backcourt. Despite leading for 11 minutes and 36 seconds of the first half, Duke’s largest lead was only 6 points.

Each team had a significantly different strategy, with BC shooting – and making – three pointers for most of the half, while Duke passed the ball and drove the basket, scoring the majority of their points in the paint. Duke had 28 of their 41 first half points in the paint, while BC only scored 8 of their 48 points in the paint. As soon as Duke lost the lead, they began to resort to forcing bad shots and playing catch-up, which sparked a clear frustration among the very young Duke starting lineup. BC was 11 for 16 on three point shots in the first half, and their season best shooting percentage from beyond the ark actually led to Duke switching from their traditional man defense to a zone with 8 minutes left in the half.

In the post-game locker room interview, Grayson Allen said he didn’t believe BC’s guards would be able to continue their sharp shooting. “They kept hitting tough shot after tough shot. A lot of pull ups and a lot of tough twos, so really, their guards are what controlled the game.”

Allen’s assessment of BC’s first half shooting was spot on. Sophomore guard Ky Bowman shot 6-12, including 3-6 for three pointers. Junior guard Jordan Chatman also shot 4-6 on three pointers and 5-8 overall. Both players had 15 points at the half, with shooting guard Jordan Chatman trailing right behind them with 9 points. BC’s guards played all 20 minutes of the first half, tiring out Duke’s defense and consistently finding open shots. BC needed to shoot as well as they did in order to compete with a Duke offense that finds a way to take 30+ shots each half and use their height in Wendell Carter Jr. and Marvin Bagley III to out rebound opponents. BC led 48 to 41 at the end of the first half.

The second half didn’t start out any better for Duke, with BC increasing their lead to 10 early on. As soon as Boston College’s Ky Bowman went to the bench for the first time, however, Duke jumped on BC’s defense and cut their lead to 2. Duke also benefited from BC’s “open court not intelligent fouls” according to head coach Jim Christian.

Duke regained the lead with about 7 minutes remaining in the second half, and the two teams traded the lead back and forth until the final minute. Duke’s youth showed, as freshman Trevon Duval made back to back mistakes that sealed the game for BC. Duke led 79-75, and Duval, who has the worst 3-PT field goal percentage out of Duke’s starters with .152, heaved a brick which allowed BC to bring the ball back and hit a three. Jerome Robinson hit two massive three pointers, including the one below from deep to give BC the lead with just over a minute left in the game.

Duke was down by 1 with 15 seconds left, but an off-ball flagrant foul by Duval sealed their fate and BC’s upset. Boston College outplayed Duke nearly the entire game, consistently making shots, out rebounding them, and playing much stronger defense. BC’s backcourt combination, perhaps one of the best in Division I, showcased why Boston College’s upset wasn’t simply a poor performance by Duke.

Grayson Allen attributed the loss to their defense more than anything. “The thing is we can’t give up 80.” Duke went into the game giving up an average of 73.9 points per game, but gave up a season high 89 to BC.

After the game, Coach K simply told his players that BC played better than they did. “We got beat by a team that played great basketball.”

Boston College not only outplayed Duke defensively and shot better than them, but they also outrebounded Duke, whose forwards typically dominate standing at 6’10” (Wendell Carter Jr) and 6’11” (Marvin Bagley III). In an exclusive interview with First and Fan after the game, Ky Bowman recognized Duke’s athleticism but also the entire BC team effort that helped them win the game:

For BC, this marks their third straight win against the #1 ranked team in Division I. Coach Christian emphasized the significance of this win for the program and the program’s history.

Boston College faces unranked Columbia in a low non-conference matchup Tuesday at 7pm. Duke has over a week of rest before their next matchup, December 20th against unranked Evansville. After following to #4 in the AP poll, Coach K is certainly going to focus on defense and execution between now and their next game.


Connor Dolan
Connor is co-founder of First And Fan and head of all website operations. He's a die hard Boston sports fan with a passion for sports, media, and all things David Ortiz.