UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Jeremiah Robinson-Earl collected a double-double and No. 3 Villanova held off Boston College for a 76-67 victory in the second semi-final of the 2K Empire Classic on Wednesday night. The game was a season opener for both teams.
Due the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s 2K Empire Classic was moved from its traditional site in New York to become part of “Bubbleville,” which is being played inside the Mohegan Sun resort in Connecticut.
Wednesday night’s encounter was closely contested throughout the night both teams trading buckets.
However, Villanova grabbed a four point lead at 70-66 with 2:58 left to play on a Caleb Daniels’ three-pointer, in the midst of outscoring Boston College 9-1 in the last few minutes to seal the win.
Robinson-Earl collected 18 points, 10 rebounds and two rebounds for the Wildcats (1-0), who shot 50.0% from the field and outpaced the Eagles 42-33 in the second half.
The game was tied 34-34 at the halftime break.
Collin Gillespie, who was hampered by a hamstring injury for couple of weeks during the preseason, recovered well to contribute 15 points and grabbed six boards, while Daniels and Justin Moore added 14 points apiece.
Villanova entered the game as the overwhelming favorite, but was put on upset alert despite leading 63-61 with just under six-minutes to play after finding difficult to shake off a spirited Boston College team.
Brandon Slater’s layup and a pair of free throws by Gillespie in the last 51 seconds, sealed the win.
Jay Heath scored 16 points to lead the Eagles (0-1) on 7 of 14 shooting and also had five rebounds.
Makai Ashton-Langford, who scored the only point for Boston College from the free throw line inside the final three minutes of action, finished with 15 points and six rebounds.
He made 6 of his 11 shots from the field for the Eagles, who were 8 for 26 from 3-pointers and shot 47.3% overall.
Wynston Tabbs chipped in with 11 points in the defeat.
Villanova will now face No. 18 Arizona State in the championship game of the 2K Empire Classic on Thursday night.
The Sun Devils booked their spot in the championship game with a 94-88 win over Rhode Island in the night’s first semi-finals.
Boston College will next face Rhode Island.