Boston College Eagles Fight for Win Over Georgia Tech


In the teaching profession we like to talk a lot about a Zone of Proximal Development. Basically, this term refers to trying to teach students to gain the most they are capable of, depending on where they are. And while we readers of Chowder and Champions might shudder at a Boston team falling short of a championship run, this Zone of Proximal Development is a perfect lens to view the Boston College Eagles men’s basketball team.

The Eagles, who came into the year projected near the bottom of the ACC, have not shocked many.

They finished thirteenth out of fifteen teams, and heading into March had only amassed one ACC win. It was a team of seniors, who were recruited under Steve Donahue, who was fired before this season. Jim Christian, a relatively unproven coach, was hired to resurrect a program that had lost fan interest, and was buried underneath the avalanche of ACC talent. It was a team that should have given up heading into March.

But, as any cheesy sports cliche, the Eagles never gave up.

Guided by Olivier Hanlan, the junior standout, the Eagles fought hard. They played tight games against Virginia, and North Carolina at Conte Forum. They beat a tournament bound Providence team. They tripped up a NC State team that is squarely on the bubble.

And now, they can say they won an ACC Tournament game. They hung out against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 66-65.

Even this game though, served as a microcosm of the Eagles season. They faced a six point deficit with 90 second left.

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Again, the team should have folded. Let the season end, who cares anymore? This game will not propel the Eagles into any sort of NIT or NCAA talk. But, the Eagles had more than just a tournament to play for: they played for pride.

Staring down defeat, Hanlan, as he has done all year, strapped on his super hero cape. He scored six of the Eagles last nine points, including the game winning stepback jumper. He dropped 25 points, hauled in eight rebounds, and dished out five assists.

The rest of the sports world might not notice, and most of Boston probably will not notice this win either. An opening ACC game is not necessarily on the same level as a Super Bowl win.

But for the Eagles, and BC fans, this win was more. It was a fourth straight ACC win. It was a gutsy win. And it was a win that should bring the program tremendous pride. Because they fought when the chips were against them, as they have done all year. This is what great programs are made of; the ability to battle through adversity.

BC is certainly establishing this framework for a rebuilding program. And their fight continues March 11th at 2:30 against North Carolina. And you bet they will fight and claw all game. An effort we should all be proud of.