No. 19 Boston College 81, Fairfield 79, OT
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) _ Boston College coach Jim O’Brien didn’t quit on his team after all. And the 19th-ranked Eagles didn’t quit on him against Fairfield, either.
The news that O’Brien had agreed to terms on a multiyear contract extension was made public hours before Antonio Granger’s drive in the lane at the overtime buzzer gave Boston College an 81-79 victory over Fairfield on Wednesday night.
O’Brien, who reportedly threatened to quit earlier in the season, was happy to escape the heavy underdog Stags ``by the skin of our teeth.″ He said he had feared a letdown following Monday’s win over Georgetown.
As for his new contract, O’Brien said he was very comfortable with his extension and praised the school for its loyalty to him in the early years. He had been said to be unsure about his future in the wake of a recent recruiting hassle with admissions that cost him three prized recruits for next season.
``Boston College is my school,″ said O’Brien, a BC alum. ``I hope I can stay there for a long time.″
After a timeout, Granger scored on a 10-foot runner in the lane. He wasn’t supposed to take the last shot. But with Danya Abrams heavily guarded and time running out, he had no choice. So he drove to the basket and became the hero.
``I knew it was going to come to me and I was supposed to get it down to Danya,″ Granger said. ``I saw there were three players on Danya and I had a wide open lane. I took the ball to the hole (from the right sideline) and got off the shot. ... I knew I had to get the shot up.″
He let the ball go as the shot clock buzzer went off. Many at courtside thought there was still one second left on the game clock when the ball went in. The referees checked with the scorers table and were told there was one-tenth of a second left.
But the clock could not be reset and the game was declared over because the New Haven Coliseum clock, unlike the one at Fairfield’s own court, does not have tenths of seconds in the final minute.
Abrams scored 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Boston College (12-2), which preserved its best start since 1981-82.
Greg Francis led Fairfield (5-7) with 23 points, but was held scoreless for the final 18 minutes of the game.
``Obviously, it’s disappointing to lose a game like that, but with all the (injury) problems we’ve had, you hope this is a nice springboard for the rest of the season,″ Fairfield coach Paul Cormier said.
Fairfield got Shannon Bowman back Wednesday night after a three-game absence because of an ankle injury, while Shane Miller, a key offensive player, is out for the season with a back injury.
Trailing 38-36 at halftime, the Stags got 14 points from Francis in the first seven minutes of the second half and took advantage of technical and intentional fouls on BC to take a 57-50 lead with 13:02 left.
The Eagles responded with a 12-0 run over the next 2:37 _ half of the points coming from Bevan Thomas _ to go ahead 62-57.
But Fairfield came right back again, taking leads of 68-66 and 71-70 before a 5-0 run put the Eagles back in front.
John Tice’s 3-pointer brought the Stags within one point, and Shannon Bowman made the front end of a 1-on-1 with 33 seconds left to tie the game. BC grabbed the rebound on the second free throw, but Abrams missed a close shot as time ran out.