Freshman Prince Aligbe’s game-winning layup with 0.9 seconds left capped a 16-point night as host Boston College edged Cornell 79-77 in Monday night’s season opener at Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Aligbe scored 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the second half to pace the Eagles.
Four other BC players scored in double digits, including CJ Penha with 15 points off the bench. T.J. Bickerstaff logged a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, as well as four assists, five steals and two blocks.
The Eagles played without guard DeMarr Langford Jr. (ankle) and forward Quinten Post (foot).
Nazir Williams had a game-high 17 points on 4-of-9 shooting from downtown to lead Cornell, which led as late as the 4:04 mark of regulation and tied the game at 77-77 on Max Watson’s 3-pointer with 30 seconds left. The Big Red nailed 13 threes as a team.
BC broke open an early 2-2 game by going on a 12-2 run over a 5:12 span that included a layup for Aligbe’s first collegiate points. The freshman big man also slammed down a two-hand dunk to give the Eagles a 23-13 lead nine minutes into the contest.
The Big Red clawed back within one at 29-28 as Sean Hansen and Williams both hit triples while BC went 3:48 without scoring late in the opening half.
Williams hit all four of his 3-pointers and led all scorers with 12 points over the first 20 minutes.
The teams combined to hit 10 of their last 13 first-half field goals, with Greg Dolan hitting a trey at the buzzer to cut BC’s lead to 43-41 at the break.
Aligbe and Bickerstaff combined for the Eagles’ first eight points of the second half. But the visitors used a 10-0 run, including four straight from Hansen, and a pair of triples to take a 58-53 lead with 11:01 left.
Makai Ashton-Langford and Jaeden Zackery then made back-to-back jumpers to make it a one-point game a minute later, but a near two-minute scoreless stretch followed. Neither team led by more than a basket until a Williams layup at the 5:14 mark.
Cornell led 71-65 with 4:45 left in regulation, but BC went on a 12-1 run over three-plus minutes and took advantage of four turnovers in that span to take a five-point lead. Aligbe’s second-chance layup capped the stretch.
–Field Level Media