Boston College didn't look like a team that had gone only 4-4 in its last eight games.
The fourth-seeded Eagles built a 20-point halftime lead and held on to earn a 85-65 victory today over 13th-seeded Penn in the first round of the NCAA tournament at the Wolstein Center.
Boston College's Craig Smith, No. 1, goes up for a shot against Penn's Mark Zoller in the first half Thursday.
(Ron Schwane - Reuters)
Boston College advanced to play 12th-seeded Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Saturday's second round. The winner of that game will earn a berth in the Round of 16 in Chicago.
The Eagles (25-4) won their first 20 games this season but sputtered down the stretch, losing to the likes of Notre Dame and West Virginia. Some analysts have questioned how long they would last in the NCAA tournament after overachieving much of the season.
But the Eagles played an efficient first half today. They made 62.1 percent of their shots, had 16 assists on 18 baskets and made 7 of 10 three-point shots even though they aren't known for their reliance on the outside shot.
Penn (20-9) shot only 33.3 percent in the first half. The Ivy League champion made a run in the second half. The Quakers pulled to within nine points after Mark Zoller made a crafty reverse lay-up with 13 minutes, 7 seconds remaining in the game. But Boston College stopped the rally and demonstrated that it could be dangerous in the NCAAs.