BOSTON (AP) — Boston College coach Steve Donahue is willing to forgive Joe Rahon’s freshman mistakes as long as he continues to also make mature plays like the one that helped the Eagles beat Auburn on Wednesday.
Rahon made a reverse layup to give BC a four-point lead, then committed a foul that helped Auburn complete a four-point play to tie the game in the final minutes.
‘‘I think he’s competing so darn hard. I just can’t tell you how much confidence I have in him as an all-around player,’’ Donahue said after BC escaped with a 50-49 victory. ‘‘We had nothing going on offense, and he just took it to the basket.’’
Olivier Hanlan scored 19 points, including the game-winning free throw with 20 seconds left, and Boston College (2-3) snapped a three-game losing streak.
Frankie Sullivan scored 23 for Auburn (2-3), including a four-point play to tie the game with 48 seconds left. Rahon fouled Sullivan as he shot a 3-pointer from the top of the key; he sank the free throw to make it 49-all with 48 seconds left.
‘‘Sullivan started to get hot,’’ Donahue said. ‘‘We talked about it for the last three days: This guy is going to try to score.’’
Hanlan was fouled driving to the basket, then sank one of two free throws. Sullivan then dribbled down the clock but almost got tied up; Rob Chubb kept the loose ball from going out of bounds but Sullivan’s desperation shot at the buzzer went off the front of the rim.
Rahon scored 15 for BC, and Hanlan added six rebounds. BC leading scorer and rebounder Ryan Anderson missed his second consecutive game with an ankle injury.
‘‘We were talking beforehand that no one guy was going was going to score Ryan Anderson’s points,’’ Rahon said. ‘‘We had to do it collectively. Everybody had to do a little more, work a little harder in order to cover up for everything Ryan does for this team. We battled today and were able to get it done.’’
Sullivan had eight rebounds for the Tigers, who had never played in the state of Massachusetts before.
Both teams were coming from the Charleston Classic, where BC went 0-3 and Auburn went 1-2.
‘‘That’s a hard one to stomach,’’ Donahue said. ‘‘We were trying to say it was the fourth game of the Charleston Classic. It’s tough to go anywhere and lose three straight.’’
The Tigers led 26-25 at the half and were up 28-26 before Boston College scored the next nine points — five from Hanlon and four from Dennis Clifford.
It was 47-40 before Noel Johnson made a 3-pointer from the right corner for Auburn. BC had two chances to maintain its lead but turned the ball over twice before Chubb hit a pair of free throws to make it a two-point game with just under 2 minutes left.
Rahon gave the Eagles a four-point lead with a reverse layup after an offensive rebound helped them run almost a full minute off the clock. But then the BC guard fouled Sullivan and let the Tigers tie the game.
BC ran down the shot clock before Hanlan drove to the basket and picked up a foul, but he only made one of two free throws, giving Auburn a chance to win it with a basket on its final possession.