December 08, 2015

Facing arguably the best point guard in the country is a tough enough proposition for rebuilding Boston College.

Doing so with half the team battling the effects of food poisoning just adds to the degree of difficulty for the Eagles as they make the trip down I-95 to face Kris Dunn and Providence on Wednesday night.

Eight Eagles players are contending with food poisoning as part of a group that affected at least 30 students who ate at a Chipotle restaurant near campus. It's unknown if the illness is part of a nationwide E. coli outbreak connected to the Denver-based restaurant chain, but the ordeal has already affected Boston College (3-5).

On Sunday, a short-handed and weakened BC team - playing without ill leading rebounder Dennis Clifford and leading scorer Eli Carter, who suffered an ankle injury before the game - lost 68-66 at home to Massachusetts-Lowell.

Jerome Robinson was able to play through his sickness to score 16 points, but the Eagles lost their fifth straight.

''I got a call from two guys at 6:30 in the morning that they had food poisoning,'' coach Jim Christian said. ''Eli Carter got hurt in the walk-through today. All that being said, we had the game in hand and we just didn't make plays.''

Christian was unable to hold practice Monday as the bug persisted among his players, though the prospect of facing Dunn might make the coach queasy as well.

The 6-foot-4 redshirt junior is among the top 10 in the country in assists (7.3) and steals (3.6) per game and second in the Big East with 18.2 points. He's also averaging 6.4 rebounds and has a 2.44-to-1 assists-to-turnover ratio.

Dunn struggled somewhat Saturday at Rhode Island, committing six of his team's 11 turnovers, but got some help from Ben Bentil. The forward followed Dunn's missed layup as time expired to give 15th-ranked Providence (8-1) a 74-72 victory.

While Dunn has been collecting national accolades all season, Bentil has emerged as Providence's go-to player in the paint. The sophomore has scored at least 20 points in his last six games and is right behind Dunn at 18.1 a contest. He's also pulling down a team-best 7.1 rebounds.

''He's improved a lot and has been one of the best forwards in the country that we've seen on film,'' Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley said. ''He's a strong player. Obviously, a guy like Kris Dunn takes a lot of pressure off everyone and puts guys in great spots.''

The Friars jumped eight places in the Top 25 for their highest spot since garnering a No. 12 ranking March 1, 2004.

The former Big East opponents have maintained their rivalry on an annual basis since Boston College joined the ACC in 2006. The Eagles have won five of those nine games, including a 69-60 home win last season despite Dunn finishing with 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting and adding six assists and four steals.

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