Associated PressBOSTON -- Another big upset for Scott Brown's family.Just a few hours after her father wassworn in as the newest member of the U.S. Senate, Ayla Brown helpedBoston College knock off sixth-ranked Duke 61-57 on Thursday night."He sent me a text message before thegame saying, 'I wanted to be at the game, but I'm so proud of you. Winit for me,'" Ayla Brown, a backup forward on the Eagles and a formerAmerican Idol contestant, told The Associated Press. "And that's whatwe did."Carolyn Swords scored 14 points andadded nine rebounds for BC (13-10, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference),going 8 for 8 from the line in the final 5 minutes. It was the Eagles'first victory over a ranked team since beating then-No. 2 Ohio State inthe second round of the 2006 NCAA tournament.Jasmine Thomas scored 19 points for Duke (18-4, 6-1), which has spent 200 straight weeks in the AP Top 25."It only takes one game like this toturn our team around in terms of our confidence level," BC coach SylviaCrawley said. "Until that happens, you're always intimidated by thoseteams. This is huge for this team. A mindset is a hard thing to change.I think they are coming around in terms of believing in what we'redoing."Brown scored six points, making a keybasket midway through the second half after Duke went ahead 41-38 tomatch its biggest lead of the game. Swords hit a pair of free throws togive BC the lead, and though the game remained close the Eagles nevertrailed again.Swords went 10 for 10 from the linein all, and BC made 20 of 21 free throws in the game as they foughtback the Blue Devil's attempt at a comeback."If we're going to be a special team, we've got a long way to go," Duke coach Joanne McCallie said.Scott Brown, a former state senator,overcame a double-digit deficit in the polls to stun Democrat MarthaCoakley and win the seat that had been held by Ted Kennedy for almost50 years. At a Capitol Hill ceremony on Thursday, Vice President JoeBiden swore him in as the Senate's 41st Republican - giving the GOP thevote they need to filibuster Democratic initiatives.So, which was the bigger upset?"I think Brown over Coakley is abigger upset, because that's for the state of Massachusetts," said AylaBrown, who had an active role in the campaign. "But in my eyes, this isthe biggest upset I've ever experienced in my basketball career."And that even made it worth missing her dad's big day."Obviously, I wish I was there,"Ayla Brown said. "But at the same time, I have a job to do. That's whyI stayed behind, and he understood."It was the second straight victoryfor BC, which beat Miami on Sunday after losing its previous fourgames. The Blue Devils had won four straight since losing to top-rankedConnecticut 81-48, but they've played just two games in the past 11days.The rust showed early.Duke fell behind 7-0 but the gamewas tied 30-all at halftime and the Blue Devils opened a 41-38 leadbefore Brown's jumper and Swords free throws to give the Eagles thelead. Duke tied it one last time when Thomas came out of a timeout andhit a floating jumper from the side of the key to make it 55-alll with59 seconds left.But Brittanny Johnson made a pair offree throws and then Swords - shaking off a timeout called to ice her -did the same. By the time Bridgette Mitchell's basket brought Dukewithin two points, there were only three seconds left.After Picco's foul shots iced it andthe last second ticked off the clock, the BC players ran to the centerof the court to celebrate.
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CLEVELAND – There are 240 minutes of play in an NBA game, but Boston’s 112-99 Game 4 loss to Cleveland came down to seven (six minutes and 46 seconds to be precise).
That would be the amount of time left in the second quarter that LeBron James spent on the bench with four personal fouls (a first for him in the first half of an NBA playoff game ever) and Boston ahead by 10 points.
Boston could not have asked for a better scenario than that, especially considering how well they had played up to that point in the game and again, knowing that James wasn’t about to set foot back on the court until the third quarter.
But here’s the problem.
Boston’s 10-point lead when James left with four fouls.
Halftime rolled around and Boston’s lead was still at just 10 points.
Celtics players agreed that not finding a way to increase their lead with James out was among the more pivotal stretches of play in Game 4.
“They did a really good job of not letting it (the 10-point lead) get out of control while he was on the bench,” Boston’s Marcus Smart told CSNNE.com. “Every time we scored, they came back and scored. They answered back with everything we answered.”
While many will point to that stretch as a time when the Celtics failed to make the necessary adjustments to increase their chances of winning, it wasn’t as if the Cavs are a one-man team.
“They still have two All-Stars out on the court,” said Boston’s head coach Brad Stevens, referring to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. “With the best player in the world they go to unreal, but they’re still a pretty darned good team when those guys are out there.”
Irving had a playoff career-high 42 points which included him scoring 12 of Cleveland’s 14 points in the final 6:46 of the second with James on the bench.
“He’s one of the best point guards in the NBA, and you know, you can tell he puts in a lot of work in his game, a lot of respect from myself, my teammates,” said Avery Bradley. “We have to do a better job at defending him as a unit, trying to make everything hard on him. He definitely got a great rhythm going tonight, and I felt like we had a chance to make it harder on him.”
James still finished with a strong stat line for the night – 34 points, six assists, five rebounds and a blocked shot.
As good as he was on the court, the Celtics have to be kicking themselves for not doing more with the time James on the bench in the second quarter which in hindsight, was among the bigger factors in them now returning home facing elimination as opposed to being tied at two games apiece in this series.
“What are you going to do?” said Cleveland’s Kevin Love. “You have to continue to fight through it. At halftime, we were down 10. We made some adjustments on the defensive end and we just fought; we needed to. They got everything out of us tonight in that second half, but we played more inspired basketball as well.”