BOSTON (AP) — Durand Scott walked to the bench shaking his sore right elbow early in the second half, took a shot to the lip late in the game and couldn’t feel a thing after some clutch free throws helped Miami continue its surprisingly strong Atlantic Coast Conference start.
Scott hit four from the line in the closing 30 seconds and drew an offensive foul as Miami extended its best conference start ever by beating pesky Boston College 60-59 on Wednesday night.
Scott finished with 15 points, Kenny Kadji had 14 and Trey McKinney Jones 11 for the Hurricanes (13-3, 4-0 ACC). It’s Miami’s best conference start since it opened its 1997-98 Big East season 5-0.
‘‘It was my funny bone,’’ he said, breaking into a smile. ‘‘Coach was telling me the way I play I'm always going to get injuries. ‘You've got to fight through injuries, stay mentally strong.’ Those are the little things you’re always thinking about. I had to put my mind on the team and not the injury and I think it worked out for me.’’
Olivier Hanlan, who led Boston College (9-8, 1-3) with 17 points, was fouled shooting a 3-pointer with a half-second left. The first two free throws rolled in, but he front-rimmed the last one. The ball was tipped in the lane and the horn sounded.
‘‘There is not much you can do there, it’s a difficult situation to put someone in,’’ BC coach Steve Donahue said. ‘‘The game was riding on three made foul shots and that’s not to win, that’s to tie. I'm so proud of him and he’s not comfortable right now on the line, you could tell tonight he wasn’t his normal self. He didn’t get a great stroke on the last one, but I don’t know where we would be without him.’’
Missing a key piece of their expected starting lineup, with center Reggie Johnson out with a broken left thumb, the Hurricanes continued to roll along in ACC play.
‘‘We’re fortunate we’re winning without him,’’ Scott said. ‘‘He’s a senior. He’s a leader. He’s an important piece.’’
Johnson missed his eighth straight with the broken thumb.
‘‘I don’t look at it like the media does,’’ Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga said. ‘‘I don’t project wins and losses, how we’re going to play and who’s going to be healthy or be out. We prepare one game at a time and prepare for that opponent. Our scout team prepared like Boston College and killed the (first) team yesterday. That was a concern for me and we played like that.’’
But the Hurricanes pulled one out thanks to some late 3-point shooting and Scott’s 4-for-4 effort from the free throw line even though Larranaga wasn’t happy with his team’s defensive effort.
‘‘Honestly it was very much like we expected from their approach,’’ he said. ‘‘They’re really good at spreading you out and getting layups, dunks and 3s. We were hoping our defense would be a whole lot better than it was, and offensively we were never in rhythm. But Durand came through for us, hit those free throws and drew the offensive foul.’’
Scott’s two free throws had given the Hurricanes a 58-57 edge with 25 seconds to play. After the Eagles called timeout to set up a play, Scott drew an offensive foul near midcourt from Joe Rahon, appearing to take an elbow to the face. He hit two more with 10 seconds to play.
Lonnie Jackson added 16 points for the Eagles and Ryan Anderson had 11.
With Boston College clinging to a one-point lead, the teams traded misses before Scott stole Hanlan’s pass in front of the Eagles’ bench and drove to the basket for a miss, but Kadji had the put-back to push Miami ahead 56-55 with 1:36 to play.
After a timeout, Hanlan was fouled and hit both ends of a 1-and-1, moving the Eagles back in front with 67 seconds left.
Miami’s Rion Brown then missed a jumper from the left wing, but Hanlan missed the front end of a 1-and-1 before Scott was fouled and nailed his two from the line.
BC trailed 36-34 early in the second half before Patrick Heckmann nailed a 3 from the right corner for his only basket of the game. Hanlan had a three-point play on the next possession and Anderson followed with two free throws, pushing BC ahead 42-36 with just over 12 minutes to play.
Miami, coming off solid wins at Georgia Tech, at North Carolina and Maryland, respectively, then stayed close thanks to some decent long-range shooting, nailing three shots from beyond the arc over the ensuing 6 minutes.
The Hurricanes cut it to 51-50 on McKinney Jones’ free throw with 3:34 to play, the first of three times they closed it to one point.
The Eagles came out cold from the field in the opening 5 minutes of the second half, missing six of their first seven shots, but Miami didn’t fully capitalize.
Neither team held more than a two-possession lead in the slowly paced half that featured relatively few fastbreak chances. Both schools had zero fast-break points in the opening 20 minutes.
Rahon rolled his right ankle early in the game, went to the locker room and returned about 3 minutes later.