BOSTON - Boston College coach Jim Christian could tell his team was lethargic on the defensive end in the first half.
He was especially happy they realized it, too, and played a lot better in the second.
Ky Bowman scored 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Boston College’s balanced scoring that carried the Eagles to an 84-65 victory over Central Connecticut on Sunday afternoon.
The Eagles opened the second half by scoring 21 of the initial 25 points to take charge. Jerome Robinson triggered a 9-0 spurt with a 3-point play.
After that, BC had three consecutive fast-break baskets and drove into the lane easily on a handful of other trips for layups.
“It was defense. What led to that was stops. In the first half, we let them shoot 50-plus percent,” Christian said. “I didn’t think we challenged shooters, I didn’t think we guarded the ball very well. It was good to see our team respond. I’m always worried about the response.”
Jordan Chatman added 15 points, Robinson had 13 with four assists, Steffon Mitchell scored 13 points and Nik Popovic 11 for the Eagles (9-3). BC won its fourth straight.
Tyler Kohl paced Central Connecticut with 17 points and Mustafa Jones had 15.
The Blue Devils (5-6) lost their third straight after a five-game winning streak, their best in six years. In the opening half, they shot 54.5 percent (12 of 22) and went 5-for-8 on 3-point attempts.
“They tightened it up,” Central Connecticut coach Donyell Marshall said. “We told them at halftime: ‘They’re an ACC school. They just beat Duke.’ We said they were going to come out. We said the first eight minutes of the second half was going to be the key.”
Robinson nailed a 3-pointer with two seconds left, giving BC a 43-36 edge at intermission of a lackluster opening half that closed with numerous fouls and sluggish play.
In the second half, the Eagles got out on the break and made it look easy.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Mitchell said of running the floor for transition baskets. “We’re a pretty good team when we get out on the fastbreak.”
Bowman’s basket gave the Eagles a 64-40 lead with just under 13 minutes to play.
Central Connecticut: Behind Kohl, who came in averaging 14 points and eight rebounds per game, the Blue Devils should have a solid player that can carry them at times in the Northeast Conference.
“He’s definitely going to be the ring leader when we get to conference play,” Marshall said.
Boston College: The Eagles must avoid slipping up in nonconference games on Dec. 23 against Richmond and Jan. 13 versus Dartmouth with a tough Atlantic Coast Conference schedule resuming later this month. Winning a few league games early will add to their stunning upset over then-No. 1 Duke just over a week ago and help BC become somewhat respected in the conference.
With balanced scoring and reduced minutes needed from him, Robinson, a preseason all-ACC second-team selection, had his string of reaching 20 points halted at three games. He’s done it five times this season.
Robinson played 34 minutes and Bowman 35.
“What, from 38 minutes?” Christian joked when asked of Robinson’s workload going down. “We don’t have any guard subs. We just don’t. I think those guys are learning how to play with fouls and learning to play with fatigue.”
Popovic didn’t start because of flu-like symptoms, but was inserted early in the game.
Johncarlos Reyes started in his place and scored the Eagles’ first four points.
“I wasn’t sure if he even was going to play,” Christian said of Popovic. “He didn’t come to shootaround.”
Central Connecticut: Hosts Maine on Wednesday.
Boston College: Off until Saturday when the Eagles host Richmond to close out a three-game homestand.