MILWAUKEE — The hordes of Wisconsin fans who turned the Bradley Center into a roiling red sea for the Badgers' second-round NCAA tournament game with Pittsburgh were late arriving, which left Georgia Tech and Boston College to tip off before a sea of empty seats in Sunday's preliminary.
It was probably just as well. Junior varsity-style ambience was accompanied by puzzling stretches of JV-caliber play before Georgia Tech survived, 57-54, to earn a round-of-16 berth opposite Nevada in the St. Louis regional.
Boston College (24-10) had been grimly efficient in dispatching Utah in the first round, but against Georgia Tech (25-9) it had more turnovers (22) than baskets (20). The Eagles also got only two points from All-Big East forward Craig Smith, ineffective in 22 foul-plagued minutes.
"Turnovers were the difference," Boston College Coach Al Skinner said. "Give Tech credit for the mistakes they forced ... but turnovers were the story of the game."
The most telling came with about eight seconds left, when Georgia Tech's Jarrett Jack darted in front of Eagle center Uka Agbai and stole a pass, then went the other way for a rim-rattling dunk and a 57-54 Tech lead. The Eagles still had 5.5 seconds to go for the tie, but Jermaine Watson's three-pointer rolled off the back iron as time expired.