BOSTON -- It's been a season of long stretches of ineffectiveness for Boston College. The difference on Wednesday night was the Eagles didn't play nearly as bad as Georgia Tech did.
Matt Humphrey scored 13 points, Ryan Anderson had 10, and Boston College held off Georgia Tech despite nearly blowing a 17-point lead, beating the Yellow Jackets 56-52 for just its second win in 12 games.
"I think what you saw was a microcosm of what we went through the entire season," Boston College coach Steve Donahue said. "Once again, they get the lead, these young kids get flustered and the lead goes out the window."
But things turned out differently for the young Eagles, who posted their first win since upsetting then-No. 15 Florida State on Feb. 8.
Boston College started three freshmen and had four play 34 minutes or more.
"I think hopefully we'll look back in a few years and say we learned from all this grinding out," Donahue said.
Boston College (9-20, 4-11 Atlantic Coast Conference) climbed out of the conference cellar with the win and avoided matching a school record for losses. The Eagles went 6-21 in 1998-99.
Daniel Miller paced Georgia Tech (10-19, 3-12) with 13 points and Kammeon Holsey had 12, with each grabbing seven boards. The Yellow Jackets have lost 11 of their past 12.
"It was not our offense," Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said. "Our defense was atrocious. They hit too many 3s. You can't do that against Boston College."
All four of Boston College's league wins have come at home.
Georgia Tech, which trailed 51-34 with just more than 11 minutes to play, cut the deficit to 54-52 with 2:21 left and had possession twice late but missed open jumpers. Jason Morris missed and the ball bounced out of bounds after a scramble, giving the Eagles possession with 32.3 seconds left.
Lonnie Jackson was fouled with 27 seconds left and hit both ends of a 1-and-1 to move Boston College ahead by four.
As it did for most of the game, Georgia Tech missed a handful of shots in the closing seconds. The Yellow Jackets shot just 38 percent (23 of 61) and failed on 14 of 18 from behind the 3-point line.
"I can live with missing shots," Gregory said. "We have to live on the defensive end and we just didn't do that today."
The Eagles, who entered with the conference's worst shooting percentage from the field, hit 42.2 percent (19 of 45), but nailed 10 of 24 on 3-point attempts.
Boston College, which had opened a 14-point advantage, led by 11 at halftime.
The Yellow Jackets looked energized at the start of the second half, scoring the initial seven points to close it to 33-29 on Morris' 3-point play. Many of the players on Georgia Tech's bench jumped up when Morris scored, easily being heard in a fairly empty arena. A snowstorm that hit the area late in the afternoon kept the crowd smaller than usual.
Donahue called time out and his team responded.
After the teams traded baskets, the Eagles scored the next nine points, extending the lead to 45-31 on Jordan Daniels' 3-pointer from the top of the key.
John Cahill later hit a 3-pointer directly in front of the media table, was fouled on the play and hit the free throw to give the Eagles a 49-34 advantage with 11:35 to play. Clifford followed with a layup on the next possessions, giving Boston College its biggest lead of the game with just more than 11 minutes left.
The Yellow Jackets made a quick run, closing it to 51-41 on Nick Foreman's 3-pointer from the right corner with 9:23 to go. The Eagles called time out again, but Georgia Tech scored the next six points, narrowing the gap to four on Holsey's put-back with just less than 6 minutes left.
Daniels answered with a 3-pointer from the right wing, but Foreman hit a trey and Holsey had a put-back to cut the deficit to 54-52 with 2:21 left.
In a matchup of the conference's two lowest-scoring teams, neither looked sharp offensively at the start. Both missed a number of jumpers and the teams were tied three times in the opening 7-1/2 minutes before the Eagles scored 14 straight points, pulling to a 28-14 lead on Anderson's dunk with 6 minutes left.
Georgia Tech, the ACC's worst 3-point shooting team, hit only 1 of 7 from beyond the arc in the first half.
The Yellow Jackets beat Boston College in the schools' first meeting this season, 51-47 in Atlanta on Feb. 4.
The Eagles hit 50 percent of their shots in the first half (12 of 24) and were 5 of 11 on 3-point attempts, taking advantage of what appeared to be, at times, lackadaisical defense by Georgia Tech.