NEW YORK (Ticker) -- On a day full of second chances, Craig Smith made the most of his.
Smith nailed two key free throws with six seconds left after missing an earlier pair and Boston College held on for a 57-54 victory over No. 23 Syracuse in the quarterfinals of the Big East Conference tournament.
Boston College (23-8) trailed throughout the game before taking its first lead on Jared Dudley's two foul shots for a 55-54 edge with 37 seconds left. Smith had a chance to pad it, but the 56 percent shooter botched a pair 17 seconds later.
Given another chance, the sophomore forward stepped up and made his final two. After a timeout, the Eagles prevailed when Gerry McNamara's running 3-pointer misfired at the buzzer.
"The first two were a lot of pressure," Smith said. "I kind of felt it and I choked and I apologized to my teammates in the locker room afterward. It was a chance to redeem myself and I felt more confident. It felt good."
Before and after Smith's missed pair, Syracuse (21-7) had two chances to take the lead and ran the same play for star forward Hakim Warrick, who was forced into a miss the first time and only managed to throw up a half-hearted shot over his head the second time against the Eagles' Uka Agbai with eight seconds to go.
"We had some opportunities down the stretch and we just didn't capitalize," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "But they're a good team. They made the lays at the end and we didn't."
The Eagles survived 35 percent (20-of-57) shooting and an 0-of-9 performance from the arc with an impressive display on the glass. Smith and Dudley each had double-doubles as Boston College netted 23 second-chance points off 21 offensive rebounds.
"For us, it's probably the key to the game," BC coach Al Skinner said. "You can see from the stat sheet we're not a great 3-point shooting team, so you're going to have to make up for that somehow."
The Eagles held a commanding 41-27 cushion on the glass for the game. Syracuse's starting frontcourt of Warrick, Craig Forth and freshman Demetris Nichols combined for 10 rebounds.
"I thought they just killed us on the backboards in the second half," Boeheim said.
BC, which is bidding to become the first team to win four games to claim the Big East title, faces defending champion Pittsburgh in the semifinals on Friday.
Smith collected 22 points and 10 rebounds and Dudley added 13 and 11 as BC avenged a 96-73 thumping at Syracuse on January 10. The Eagles fell behind by 20 points at halftime in that one and were completely outclassed.
Syracuse got off to another fast start and led by as many as 11 points in the first half before taking a 32-23 lead into halftime. But the Orangemen shot only 36 percent (8-of-22) after the break and Warrick was limited to 12 points for the game.
"I think I just got shots that I'm capable of making, and I just didn't go out there and finish," Warrick said.
McNamara led the defending national champions with 15 points.