Eagles Soar To Sweet Sixteen With Win Over Montana, 69-56
March 18, 2006
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Jared Dudley was waiting for Boston College to play this way the entire season.
The Eagles dominated 12th-seeded Montana 69-56 Saturday in the Minneapolis Regional, looking nothing like the team that struggled to beat Pacific in the first round.
Craig Smith had 22 points and 16 rebounds, pulling down eight on offense and putting most of them back for easy layups, and Dudley scored 20 for the Eagles, who showed they are poised to make a big run through the tournament.
After six straight NCAA exits within the first two rounds, the fourth-seeded Eagles (28-7) are in the round of 16 for the first time since 1994.
"You've got to have killer instinct. For the first time all year, we did that," Dudley said. "You can't trade baskets, especially at this time because that's when you get beat."
Boston College, which needed two overtimes to get past Pacific, didn't trade much of anything with Montana. The Grizzlies (24-7) were coming off their first NCAA tournament win since 1975, but were outshot and outrebounded 44-29.
The Eagles await the winner of Sunday's Villanova-Arizona game.
Montana was clearly the fan favorite, but hopes of an upset unraveled as Smith went on an 8-0 run by himself at the end of the first half, then the Eagles put away the Grizzlies early in the second.
Several Boston College starters remained in at the end despite the lopsided score and were booed as they left the court. Tyrese Rice threw his sweatbands into the crowd and a fan threw it right back like a visitor's home run at Wrigley Field.
That only widened Rice's smile.
"I thought it was funny because it wasn't the first time that's happened to me. We're moving on and they're going home and that's all that matters," said Rice, who scored 14 points. "Everywhere we go the crowd is always against us because everybody wants to see the upset."
Montana's Kevin Criswell had three points, 13 below his average, and BC held Andrew Strait to 11 points - five below his average.
"We were sniffing around, at least at halftime, and got a taste of what some big-time basketball is all about," Montana coach Larry Krystkowiak said.
Jordan Hasquet led Montana with 13 points and Matt Martin scored 11 points. The Grizzlies could never get going consistently inside against Smith and Sean Williams, who had five blocks, and went 8-for-27 from the floor in the second half while trying to rally.
There was little chance of that.
"We've got guys who can do lot of different things," Smith said.
The Eagles were a victim of a No. 12 seed a year ago in the second round, losing to Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The Grizzlies seemed to have some of the No. 12 magic early and led for much of the first half, until Smith caught his breath for the final few minutes and scored on two short jumpers and two putbacks. Boston College, which had trailed by five, led 32-30 at halftime.
"He's a big, physical guy. You can't leave him for a minute," Strait said of Smith. "A lot of his points came on second shots."
Boston College kept up the pace in the second half, opening with a 3-pointer by Dudley and another by Louis Hinnant during a 14-5 run the put the Eagles in command for good.
"We should feel good about what we did, but at the same time I think guys understand we have a lot of business to take care of," said Hinnant, who finished with 10 points. "I was real happy when we shook hands and walked off the court, there wasn't a whole lot of celebrating."