CHESTNUT HILL — An emotional Boston College coach men’s basketball coach Steve Donahue stated: “This game was for Dick Kelley.”
This was no ordinary game and, as the tremendous outpouring of affection for him proved, Kelley is no ordinary man.
BC, which had lost 10 of its last 13 games, trailed Virginia 49-41 yesterday afternoon with 4:27 to play.
The same Virginia team which was fourth in the country in scoring defense (54.5 points per game). And was coming off a SportsCenter-leading win over No. 3 Duke.
But BC clawed back against the 20-8 Cavaliers and pulled out the 53-52 stunning win on a Joe Rahon 3-pointer with 8.2 seconds left.
A couple former BC players, Marc Molinsky and Hall of Famer Danya Abrams, could hardly believe what they had just seen.
“How about that?” remarked Molinsky to Abrams, who was the analyst for WEEI radio. “Right in front of DK (Dick Kelley)! That’s like the movies.”
Indeed, Kelley, who is confined to a wheelchair from the ravages of Lou Gehrig’s disease, couldn’t have been more than 15 feet away at courtside when Rahon, who was hitting just 30.2 percent of his 3-pointers, drained the deep trey.
The BC players and coaches hugged Kelley, an Andover native, after the emotional win.
Rahon said, “It meant everything. Coach told us it’s more than a game here. Being with him meant the world to us.”
Olivier Hanlan, who teams with Rahon in a talented all-freshman backcourt, said, “We just love Dick.”
That was the sentiment of the day.
Prior to the game, Kelley, a BC grad who has worked for the school for 22 years, received perhaps the longest standing ovation in the 25-year history of the Conte Forum.
That was when he was presented the prestigious U.S. Basketball Writers Courage Award by Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel.