The Legend returned home tonight but Boston College did all of the celebrating.
The Eagles made an uncanny 71 percent of their shots from the field and went on to upstage Patrick Ewing and 13th-ranked Georgetown, 80-71, in a key Big East game before a delighted capacity crowd of 4,400 at snug Roberts Center.
It was a tough loss for Georgetown, which fell a game behind Villanova with two games to play. The Hoyas are 20-6 overall and 8-4 in the Big East. Villanova defeated Syracuse tonight to raise its conference record to 9-3.
Ewing, who starred at nearby Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School before choosing Georgetown over Boston College, was undaunted by the sometimes malicious verbal barbs of the BC fans and turned in a fine performance. The 7-foot freshman finished with 23 points, six rebounds and two blocks. Unfortunately, his teammates couldn't do much against BC's zone or stop the hosts from scoring nearly at will.
The Eagles (14-8, 5-6) got 26 points from their money man, guard John Bagley--14 of them coming from the free throw line--and four other players finished in double figures. The most surprising contributions came from 5-10 freshman Michael Adams, who had six only points but, along with Bagley, did a superb job of handling the ball out front and breaking the Hoya press, and John Garris (11 points, five rebounds).
"They just weren't ready for us this time," said Adams, who replaced Dwan Chandler, who was in foul trouble. "Maybe they were too big-headed. We just outplayed them."
Georgetown, shooting only 44 percent, never got started offensively. Rich Shrigley's two free throws put Boston College ahead, 11-10, at the 13:47 mark of the first half and the Hoyas never caught up.
Garris, who battled Ewing all evening before fouling out, and Bagley each scored six points as the Eagles outscored the Hoyas, 22-11, to take a 33-21 lead with 7:07 left in the half.
"We made some concentration mistakes and missed some good shots," said Georgetown Coach John Thompson. "But you have to credit BC's defense for that. Once they got in front, they could dictate what they wanted to do.
"We knew we couldn't afford to let Bagley get loose and go one-on-one early. But he did. It's hard to play catchup in this gym. Once we got behind, we got in foul trouble."
Although Ewing enjoyed a fine homecoming, he was never a factor as many of his points came after BC had taken a comfortable 10- to 12-point lead that grew to as many as 16 early in the second half.
"We didn't have a lot of luck getting the ball inside their zone," said Hoya guard Gene Smith. "BC played good defense."
BC's sagging, shifting zone not only stopped Ewing early but limited Eric Floyd to seven-of-20 shooting. Floyd, who had 20 points in his team's earlier 16-point victory over BC, finished with 14. Eric Smith also had a rough night, making only three of 13 shots to finish with eight points.
BC Coach Tom Davis was elated with the win, praising Bagley, Shrigley, Garris and Adams: "Down the stretch, they did a good job keeping the ball away from Georgetown."
The Hoyas made the game interesting late in the game, cutting the Eagles' lead to 70-63 with 2:48 left. But the Eagles went back to their four corners offense and the Hoyas had to foul. Adams, who missed seven free throws, made four to push BC's lead to 74-63 with 1:55 to play. Martin Clark's layup seconds later made it 76-63 and BC was home free.