BOSTON — Boston College came painfully close to ending a four-game losing streak against N.C. State and spoiling the league opener for the preseason favorites in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Eagles couldn't overcome their own mistakes and failed to capitalize on some late breaks as No. 23 N.C. State held on for a 78-73 win Saturday.
"We know we can play with anyone, staying close to N.C. State and maybe beating N.C. State," said Joe Rahon, who finished with 18 points. "We expect to be in that situation and in a tight game like that. We are a young team and this is teaching us how to win close games."
This was one unpleasant lesson, ending the Eagles' five game winning streak.
The Wolfpack (12-2, 1-0) won their ninth straight, their longest streak since 1983-84, but only after giving the Eagles several opportunities to pull off an upset.
The Eagles cost themselves the most at the foul line, going 15 for 22 in the second half.
Boston College (8-6, 0-1) missed a chance to tie when Rodney Purvis fouled Patrick Heckmann on a 3-point attempt with 18.9 seconds left. Heckmann, a 93 percent shooter from the line coming in, made 2 of 3 and the Eagles were forced to continue fouling Scott Wood, who scored N.C. State's last nine points.
Ryan Anderson had 22 points and 13 rebounds for Boston College, which led for much of the second half and never let the high-scoring Wolfpack pull ahead by more than seven points.
"I thought we did a lot of things really well in terms of things we needed to do to win the game," BC coach Steve Donahue said. "I thought we were tough and physical and we competed and took care of the basketball and fought through adversity with foul trouble."
The Eagles led by six midway through the second half, but the Wolfpack came through with a late rally and held on for the victory.
The teams combined for 44 fouls and took 36 free throws in the second half alone. In the end, the Eagles faltered more from the line than the Wolfpack did.
The back-and-forth fouling continued throughout the second half as did the streaky foul shooting.
Anderson hit a free throw to it for Boston College at 59-all, but missed on his second attempt. Lonnie Jackson was there for the rebound and his tip allowed the Eagles to maintain possession. Jackson made his save count with a 3-pointer, but Purvis answered from beyond the arc to tie it again at 62.
N.C. State finally regained the lead for good when Wood, who had been 0 for 2 in the first half, hit from beyond the arc and put N.C. State up 67-64.
Rahon had a chance to retake the lead late for BC, but missed everything on a turnaround jumper in the lane and the Wolfpack got the rebound, calling time out with 1:01 left and still up 69-68. Wood hit another 3-pointer to put N.C. State up 72-68, but the Eagles weren't quite done.
Anderson drew a foul while dunking a rebound and his three-point play drew BC within 72-71 with 27 seconds left. But the Eagles had to foul and picked Wood, who made all six of his attempts from the line.
Purvis scored 19 points, Richard Howell finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds and Lorenzo Brown had 14 points and eight assists for the Wolfpack.
N.C. State was 12 for 21 from the field in the first half, but the Wolfpack made just 4 of 11 foul shots and pulled down only one offensive rebound in the period. N.C. State still led 29-28 at halftime, thanks in part to the Eagles' own struggles from the foul line.
BC made 9 of 15 free throws in the first half.