BOSTON (AP) — Boston College guard Joe Rahon knew where to go in a tight game with the shot clock winding down. He found Ryan Anderson in the paint.
Anderson had a pair of layups off Rahon’s passes in the closing 2 minutes and finished with 24 points to lift Boston College to a 71-68 win over Providence Saturday afternoon in the 107th meeting between the schools.
Olivier Hanlan added 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Eagles (6-5), who posted their fourth win in five games.
‘‘I just have so much respect for Joe and his understanding of the game,’’ BC coach Steve Donahue said. ‘‘He’s just a winner — makes game-winning plays. Somebody’s going to have to step up and stop him because he doesn’t make mistakes.’’
With Boston College clinging to a 64-63 lead, Anderson sneaked inside all alone and Rahon fed him for a layup with 1:30 to play. Hanlan added a free throw 20 seconds later after Cotton missed a 3, giving the Eagles a 67-63 edge.
Cotton hit two free throws to cut it to 67-65, but Rahon drove the lane with the shot clock winding down and fed Anderson — almost a quick shovel in close — for a basket with 23 seconds to play. Hanlan’s two free throws sealed it.
‘‘I thought it was incredible, end of the shot clock, stay poised and find Ryan in a tight spot,’’ Donahue said. ‘‘When you get (Ryan) those types of plays he has a great knack of finishing.’’
Bryce Cotton led the Friars (8-3) with 33 points and Kadeem Batts scored 14 with seven boards before fouling out with 5:01 to play.
‘‘That was as bad of a game as I've ever coached,’’ Providence coach Ed Cooley said. ‘‘I'm disappointed with the entire day — defense, offense, system. BC was the system team that beat the athletic team.’’
Without Cotton, who leads the Big East in scoring, it could have been worse.
‘‘He’s a terrific player,’’ Hanlan said. ‘‘He was hitting big time 3s the entire game. We didn’t play great defense on him, but he was hot.’’
Donahue also admitted he may have missed out on Cotton when Boston College brought him in for a visit.
‘‘I have so much respect for Bryce,’’ he said. ‘‘I got to know him a little bit when I first got here. We tried to recruit him. We did recruit him. We brought him on campus and probably made a mistake.’’
The schools have played every season since 1953-54 — except in 2005-06.
After Anderson’s two free throws cut the Friars’ lead to 42-40 with 15:06 to play, neither team held more than a one-possession lead over the next 10 minutes. Patrick Heckmann’s 3-pointer from the right corner broke a 56-all tie and Hanlan followed with a free throw, giving the Eagles a 60-56 lead with 5:01 left.
The Friars had kept it close because of Cotton, who scored 12 of their 14 points during a 7 ½-minute stretch midway through the half.
After Cotton scored on a drive, Anderson answered for BC with a reverse layup, making it 62-58 with just fewer than 4 minutes left. But Ladontae Henton scored on a short jumper in the lane for Providence on the next possession.
Hanlan then hit two free throws for BC with 2:42 to go, pushing BC’s lead back to four points before Cotton nailed a baseline 3 on the next trip down the floor.
The pace slowed down and so did the scoring early in the second half. Both teams relied on half-court offense, running the shot clock down low on most possessions that were fairly unsuccessful.
The Eagles missed eight of their first nine shots to start the second half, but trailed by only two with just under 15 minutes to play because the Friars were shooting nearly as poorly.
Neither team held more than a two-possession lead in the opening half. BC had opened a 25-19 edge on Anderson’s free throw with 7:23 to play, but Providence scored 12 of the next 16 points to grab a 31-29 lead on Batts’ two free throws with just fewer than 4 minutes left. Cotton nailed a pair of 3s in the spree.
It stayed close the rest of the way before Henton’s two free throws with 38 seconds left sent the teams to intermission tied at 36.
In the opening minutes, Providence came out in a zone, but quickly changed to man-to-man defense after the Eagles got a couple of easy chances.
The Eagles wore black patches with the initials ‘LG’ in honor of 26-year-old Lisa Gallup, who died after a battle with cancer this week. She’s the daughter of assistant athletic director Barry Gallup.