for this game

Dudley struggles late as Boston College falls to North Carolina

Feb 18, 2007 - 7:02 AM CHESTNUT HILL, Massachusetts (Ticker) -- Jared Dudley and Boston College came up short yet again against one of the Atlantic Coast Conference's elite programs.

With Dudley missing three huge free throws down the stretch, Tyler Hansbrough scored 17 points and Brandan Wright added 13 as fourth-ranked North Carolina held off the 21st-ranked Eagles with a 77-72 victory.

Coming off a loss to ACC power Duke on Wednesday, Boston College (18-8, 9-4 ACC) hosted North Carolina (23-4, 9-3) just three days later and the outcome was not any different. With the loss, the Eagles dropped one-half game behind the Tar Heels and Virginia for first place in the conference race.

"If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change the script," Boston College coach Al Skinner said. "We did what we tried to do. We ran good plays and got the shots for the guys we wanted to."

North Carolina coach Roy Williams thinks the win will help his team going forward.

"It was a difficult game to say the least," Williams said. "I honestly believe that if we had somehow lost at the end, I would have felt very good about how hard the team played and the intensity that they had.

"That was a big-time basketball game and it had a fantastic college atmosphere, but for us to step up and get that win after we were so disappointed against Virginia Tech, it was great for our team."

Trailing, 73-70, with 1:29 left, Boston College had a chance to tie when Dudley was fouled taking a 3-pointer. However, Dudley then missed all three foul shots, even screaming in frustration as the third ball clanked off the rim.

"Anytime you start struggling from the free-throw line, it's all mental," Dudley said. "I don't think it's physical. If it was, you wouldn't be in the game, anyway. But once you keep missing, it's hard to block it out."

After Tyrese Rice's layup and North Carolina reserve Marcus Ginyard's two free throws made it 75-72, the Eagles had one last chance to tie, but Dudley could not convert from the arc. Guarded by Tar Heels forward Reyshawn Terry on the left wing, Dudley tried several pump fakes but could not shake free, and eventually misfired on an off-balance attempt.

North Carolina's most reliable low-post option on Saturday, Hansbrough shot 6-of-13 from the field. Wright was an efficient 6-of-7 for the Tar Heels, who shot 52 percent (28-of-54) from the floor and improved to just 3-4 in games decided by eight points or less.

"It gives us confidence," Hansbrough said. "We needed to play in a hostile environment like this. I'm really glad we pulled this one out because the last couple games have been close, and we let them slip away. This one was a confidence booster."

Despite struggling in the final minutes, Dudley scored 22 points and Rice added 20 for Boston College, which shot 52 percent (28-of-54).