SYRACUSE, N.Y. — To a man, the Boston College Eagles were convinced of one thing: DK was looking down on them.
Olivier Hanlan and Patrick Heckmann hit 3-pointers in overtime, Lonnie Jackson made four straight free throws in the final 26.2 seconds, and lowly BC stunned top-ranked Syracuse 62-59 on Wednesday night, ending the Orange’s unbeaten season.
“It was an emotional game for us,” BC coach Steve Donahue said after his first Carrier Dome win in eight tries against the Orange. “It’s been incredible for these guys to persevere. We’ve played well in a lot of games.”
The Eagles came to town with heavy hearts and a good dose of determination. Longtime basketball media contact and sports information assistant Dick Kelley died last week after a two-year battle with ALS. His funeral was Tuesday and the Eagles, who often visited his apartment, were wearing “DK” patches on their uniforms.
“The patch on our chests, toward the end of the game it was like, ‘We can’t be denied. DK is looking down on us. He’s got us,’” forward Ryan Anderson said. “It’s real emotional. It’s really going to set in in a couple of hours.”
Boston College (7-19, 3-10 Atlantic Coast Conference), which had lost five straight, rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit to pull off the improbable upset. The Eagles had dropped six games by four points or fewer, including 74-71 at Georgia Tech and 73-69 to Notre Dame in the last week.
“We’ve been in a lot of close games this year, lost a lot of heartbreakers,” said Jackson, who was just 9 of 16 from the free throw line in conference play entering the game. “We’ve been in this before, so we just had to rely on that. Finally, the ball bounced our way.”
Syracuse (25-1, 12-1) travels to No. 5 Duke on Saturday night for a rematch of their overtime instant classic on Feb. 1.
The loss leaves No. 3 Wichita State (28-0), which beat Loyola of Chicago 88-74 on Wednesday night, as the lone unbeaten in Division I.
The Eagles, whose only conference wins this season were over Virginia Tech, beat a No. 1-ranked team for the third time and first since knocking off then-No. 1 North Carolina in 2009.
Syracuse, which had won its last two games by a combined three points, shot a season-low 32.2 percent from the field including going 2 of 12 from 3-point range, its sputtering offense unable to pull off another miracle finish.
“When you get in enough of these games, there’s going to be one you’re not going to make a play. That’s what happens,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “At the end of games, you get into enough of these games, you’re not going to win.
“I’m really happy that we’ve won 25 games,” Boeheim said. “We can’t think about that. We’ve got to think about what we have to going forward. We’ve really got to get better, and I think we will. It’s been an unbelievable run, I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s remarkable what they’ve done.”
Tied at 50 after two halves played at Boston College’s deliberate pace, Hanlan and Heckmann hit from long range to give BC a 56-52 lead with 2:56 left, but Tyler Ennis’ driving layup knotted the score at 56 with 2:09 to play.
A free throw by Ennis gave the Orange a one-point lead, but Heckmann’s backdoor layup put the Eagles back in front with 43.5 seconds left.
After a timeout, Ennis threw a pass toward C.J. Fair in the right corner that sailed out of bounds. After the officials initially ruled it was Syracuse’s ball a video review with 32.5 seconds left re-affirmed the call. It didn’t matter when Fair missed a drive and Jackson sealed the victory with his clutch free throws.
Hanlan finished with 20 points and Jackson had 10. Anderson had nine points and 14 rebounds, but the Eagles won it by going 11 of 22 from behind the arc. They committed 15 turnovers, three after halftime.
Fair finished with 20 points on 7-of-23 shooting and had 11 rebounds. Ennis had 14 points and six assists and Jerami Grant finished with 11 points.
Syracuse won 58-56 at Pittsburgh a week ago and 56-55 over North Carolina State in the Carrier Dome on Saturday night — as the Orange had walked a tightrope much of the season.
Grant’s spinning layup on a drive through the lane gave Syracuse a 50-48 lead with 77 seconds left in regulation, but Hanlan tied it with a layup 30 seconds later.
After a timeout, Ennis missed a layup attempt but snared his own rebound and Boeheim called a timeout with 20 seconds left to set up a final shot. But Rakeem Christmas missed a hook in the lane just before the buzzer to force overtime.
BC was called for two shot-clock violations in the final 5 minutes, squandering a chance to win it in regulation.
BC figured to attack the Syracuse zone inside-out with Jackson leading the ACC in shooting at 50 percent (34 of 68) from behind the arc and Joe Rahon and Hanlan each with 21 3-pointers. Eddie Odio averaging 42.4 percent from long range, also started.
BC trailed by eight points at halftime and by as many 13 in the second half before its outside game came alive. Hanlan hit three from behind the arc and Rahon had two in a 7-minute span to key a 21-8 spurt, and Anderson’s layup tied it at 41-all with 8:15 left.
A 3 by Rahon from the left corner made it 46-42 with 6:09 to go. Syracuse tied it at 46 on Ennis’ driving layup with 5:09 left, but he committed a turnover on the ensuing possession and Heckmann’s layup put BC back in front 48-46 at 3:30.
The Orange tied it at 48 on a free throw by Christmas with 2:23 to play.
Syracuse started badly, missing its first seven shots and falling behind 7-2 as Jackson drained two 3s in the first 5 minutes. Fair notched the Orange’s first basket on a reverse layup at 14:19.
Fair, Syracuse’s leading scorer, had eight of the Orange’s first 12 points, but half those points were on free throws as he missed eight of his first 10 shots. Syracuse shot 34.5 percent (10 of 29) and missed all six attempts from long range in the first half.
Grant’s three-point play gave Syracuse a 25-17 lead at halftime as the Orange held Boston College’s top scorers in check. Hanlan was 1 of 5 from the field and Anderson 1 of 4.
The Orange boosted the lead to 33-20 on Ennis’ 3 from the wing with 17:25 left.
Syracuse won at Boston College a little more than a month ago. The Orange trailed 51-46 with just over 10 minutes to play, then took advantage of their size inside during a 16-1 run over a span of less than 4 minutes and won 69-59.
No. 2 FLORIDA 71, AUBURN 65
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Patric Young made a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left and Auburn threw the ball away on the ensuing inbounds play, helping Florida secure the win.
The victory was Florida’s school-record 18th in a row and it kept the Gators (24-2, 13-0) perfect in Southeastern Conference play. It was also Florida’s 31st consecutive home victory.
Young led the Gators with 17 points and added seven rebounds. Tahj Shamsid-Deen led Auburn (12-12, 4-9) with 17 points.
After Young’s free throws put the Gators ahead 68-66, K.T. Harrell glanced up court and never saw Allen Payne’s inbounds pass. The ball bounced out of bounds and the Gators sealed the victory from the free throw line.
No. 3 WICHITA STATE 88, LOYOLA OF CHICAGO 74
CHICAGO — Fred VanVleet scored 22 points on perfect shooting and Wichita State beat Loyola of Chicago to become the only unbeaten team in major college basketball.
Wichita State and Syracuse began the day as the only Division I schools with perfect records. But the Orange lost 62-59 to Boston College in overtime, and the Shockers used an 11-2 run early in the second half to help close out the Ramblers.
Cleanthony Early scored 18 points as Wichita State became the 19th school to begin a season with 28 straight victories. VanVleet was 6 for 6 from the field and made each of his 10 free throws.
The Shockers (28-0, 15-0) can clinch the Missouri Valley Conference title with a victory at home against Drake on Saturday night.
No. 4 ARIZONA 67, UTAH 63, OT
SALT LAKE CITY — Gabe York and Nick Johnson each scored 15 points, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 13 and Arizona escaped in overtime against Utah.
The Wildcats (24-2, 11-2 Pac-12) beat Utah for the ninth straight time since a loss in the 1998 NCAA tournament. Arizona also held onto sole possession of first place in the Pac-12, one game ahead of UCLA.
Brandon Taylor had 13 points and Dallin Bachynski and Delon Wright each scored 12 for the Utes (17-9, 6-8), who lost at home for the second time this season.
The score was tied at 58 before Hollis-Jefferson made two baskets to give the Wildcats a four-point lead with 1:52 left in overtime. His second bucket came after Taylor, an 86 percent free throw shooter, missed three straight from the line to prevent Utah from taking the lead.
Wright made a pair of free throws to cut it to 62-60, but threw the ball away with 33.9 seconds left.
No. 7 CINCINNATI 77, UCF 49
ORLANDO, Fla. — Sean Kilpatrick hit six 3-pointers and scored 23 points to help Cincinnati dominate Central Florida.
The Bearcats (24-3, 13-1 American Athletic) have won 17 of 18 going into their conference showdown with No. 11 Louisville on Saturday. Justin Jackson added 10 points and seven rebounds for Cincinnati, which beat UCF for the second time this season.
Central Florida’s offense struggled mightily in the first half, allowing Cincinnati to build an early 20-point lead. The struggling Knights never got it back to single digits and finished with 16 turnovers.
Isaiah Sykes led the Knights with 13 points and 10 rebounds. UCF (10-14, 2-11) has lost 10 of 11.
No. 10 SAINT LOUIS 89, GEORGE MASON 85, OT
FAIRFAX, Va. — Jordair Jett scored 24 of his 25 points after halftime, Rob Loe hit two key 3-pointers in overtime and St. Louis beat George Mason for its 18th straight win.
The Billikens (24-2, 11-0 Atlantic-10), playing as a top 10 team for the first time since Dec. 29, 1964, extended their school-record winning streak and with No. 1 Syracuse and No. 3 Wichita State remained the only teams in the country without a road loss.
Sherrod Wright had a career-high 34 points for the Patriots (9-17, 2-10), who lost for the 11th time in 13 games and are winless at home in conference play.
No. 11 CREIGHTON 85, MARQUETTE 70
MILWAUKEE — Doug McDermott scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half and Ethan Wragge added 22 to help Creighton beat Marquette in a foul-plagued Big East game.
McDermott, who entered as the nation’s leading scorer at 25.9 points per game, scored seven points to trigger a deciding 10-2 run after Marquette had pulled within 64-59. McDermott’s jumper from the free throw line put the Bluejays (22-4, 12-2 Big East) up 74-61 with 4:39 left.
Creighton did not trail over the final 20 minutes after leading 42-35 at halftime.
Todd Mayo had 13 points for the Golden Eagles (15-11, 7-6), who had won three straight.
No. 23 UCLA 86, CALIFORNIA 66
BERKELEY, Calif. — Jordan Adams scored 28 points and UCLA returned to the national rankings with an impressive victory against California to keep pace in the Pac-12 title chase.
Kyle Anderson had 11 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Bruins (21-5, 10-3), who won their fourth straight game and seventh in eight to remain a game behind Pac-12 leader Arizona.
Jordan Mathews scored 16 off the bench for cold-shooting Cal (17-9, 8-5).
Adams shot 12 for 19 and scored five straight points midway through the second half that put the Bruins ahead 71-50 with 9:24 remaining. He also had six rebounds and five assists. Travis Wear added 13 points.
No. 24 OHIO ST. 76, NORTHWESTERN 60
COLUMBUS, Ohio — LaQuinton Ross scored 16 points before being ejected because of a scuffle, leading Ohio State over Northwestern.
The fracas late in the game delayed play for several minutes while the officials deliberated penalties for the players. Northwestern’s Nikola Cerina also was ejected. The teams shot 10 free throws as a result of the shoving match.
The victory was Ohio State’s 33rd consecutive win over Northwestern in Columbus, dating to an 83-72 loss on Feb. 24, 1977, at old St. John Arena.
Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. each added 14 points for Ohio State. Sam Thompson, who had not hit double figures in his last eight games, had 11 for the Buckeyes (21-6, 8-6 Big Ten), who have won five of their last six.
Drew Crawford scored 22 points and Tre Demps 14 for the Wildcats (12-15, 5-9), who have lost four in a row.