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BC basketball notebook: Men and women both grab first ACC wins

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With over 30 of his friends and family in attendance, Atlanta native Devin McGlockton knew he couldn’t disappoint.

Boston College took down Georgia Tech 95-87 Saturday, and the 6-foot-7 McGlockton put on a show. He put up 30 points leading the Eagles to their first ACC win of the season. Entering Saturday he had just five 3-pointers on the season, but he went a career-high 3-of-4 from range against the Yellow Jackets.

“Apparently everything,” McGlockton said when asked what went right for him postgame. “I had my family here, I’m back hometown, so everything was going well for me.”

But, some drama ensued postgame for McGlockton. In the dying seconds of the game, Georgia Tech was pressing Quinten Post after the Yellow Jackets’ made free throw. So, Post chucked it all the way down the court to McGlockton, who converted the rather easy layup with six seconds left on the clock to get him to 30 points total on the night.

That started tension between the two sides in the postgame handshake line due to McGlockton grabbing a bucket in what many would consider “garbage time.” The broadcast cut out right as it appeared something was about to happen, and Beacon Street Ball (who travels to literally every game) did not get a great look at it despite being close to it — however, what’s vividly shown on the broadcast is Yellow Jackets head coach Damon Stoudamire in both Earl Grant’s face and having some words for McGlockton.

Neither McGlockton nor Earl Grant were asked specifically about what was said in the handshake line postgame with there clearly being some rather angerful words exchanged. But as for the last play in general, both defended the layup that some — debatably many — would consider rather unsportsmanlike.

“We didn’t want to shoot that ball. They were pressing us. It was hard to get it in,” Grant said. “We ended up throwing it long. (McGlockton) caught it right under the rim and he shot it in. I think those guys weren’t happy with that.”

“They were still pressing. I mean, I got the ball in position,” McGlockton said. “They’re still playing defense, I got that last bucket. I mean, that’s it. That’s what happened.”

Battling back

BC was down 51-38 after the first half thanks to an ugly 20 minutes defensively — which was capped off by the Yellow Jackets’ 11-0 run that ended the half. Shots were falling for the Eagles, but they couldn’t figure it out on the defensive end.

“We were really out of character,” Grant said. “I don’t know if it’s we hadn’t played a lot of games recently. I don’t know what it was, but seemed like we just couldn’t execute our game plan. And they made nine threes and made us pay.”

Coming out of the gate, the Eagles then responded to the halftime deficit with a 9-0 run that cut Georgia Tech’s lead to just two. BC then took the lead for the first time since the first half with nine minutes to go in the contest. And with BC down 79-76 and just under four minutes of play left, it was a pair of triples from Claudell Harris Jr. and McGlockton that began an 11-0 run, and the Eagles ran away with it from there.

“We wanted to go out and do better, be more to our details, how we wanted to execute our game plan,” Grant said. “So we just tightened up some screws on everything. And then the guys showed great character. Our ball movement wasn’t as good as it needed to be in the first half. We took a few questionable shots. We could get better shots. And the second half, we just really did a great job of valuing the possession and moving the ball and playing team basketball.”

“Must-win”?

With BC dropping their first two ACC games to Wake Forest, many considered Saturday a must-win for Boston College especially given the difficult slate coming up (aside from the pair of Notre Dame games obviously) that features No. 16 Clemson and No. 8 North Carolina.

However, Grant views things differently.

“In my heart, and in my mind, I never really had must must-win in my mind. I had it in my mind that we needed to go play and play well, and try to figure it out to execute our plan,” he said.

“I felt like if we executed our plan at a high level, we could probably win,” Grant added. “But I think it was an important one. I think it was an important one because we’re on the road for a while. So it was an important one because it’s a road win. It’s an important win because it’s a conference game. You want to stay in the race as much as you can.”

Ladies beat the men to an ACC win

While many were ecstatic over BC’s win over Georgia Tech Saturday, it was the women who grabbed their first ACC win this week before the men did. They took down Miami 70-64 on Thursday, moving the Eagles to 1-1 in conference play.

“It was exciting,” BC head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said of the win. “It was a really good team win. These ladies played so, so hard and played together and through some adversity of maybe missing some shots they wanted to make and having some turnovers that were a little bit uncharacteristic of us, they still stuck together and played a great team basketball game.”

After a tough 80-75 loss at Duke that opened the ACC slate for the ladies, they rebounded with Thursday’s win. Four of the five BC starters had over 12 points, as Andrea Daley lead the way with 17. And the one starter who had less than 12 points, Kaylah Ivey, totaled an impressive eight assists for BC with as many points.

The Eagles did turn the ball over 20 times and the bench contributed just four points total. But back to the positive side of things, they shot a very strong 40% (8-of-20) from beyond the arch — take away the bench’s three misses as well and that’s 8-for-17/47%.

“I think this game is something now we can build on because now I thought we stuck to our standards for the majority of the game defensively,” Bernabei-McNamee said.

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Florida State 84, Boston College 76: Eagles struggle to defend Seminoles

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Boston College fell to Florida State 84-76 Tuesday night in Tallahassee, as despite a quick start scoring-wise the Eagles struggled to defend a similarly-hot-handed Seminoles team that dropped the Eagles to 6-9 in conference play.

It was back-and-forth very early on, with the first missed shot of the game not coming until almost four minutes in. The first half ended in a high-scoring 43-43 knot.

Things stayed even until roughly the halfway mark of the second half when FSU went on a 10-0 run that gave them a 70-61 advantage, the largest lead of the entire game for both sides. That ended up being the deciding factor, as the Eagles were unable to get within less than eight from that point on.

BC had four players in double-figures for scoring-wise, getting just eight points from the bench. Jaeden Zackery led the way with 19 on 3-for-3 from 3-point range, while Mason Madsen hit four 3s and put up 14. Quinten Post tallied 15 with seven of those points coming from the charity strike and Devin McGlockton also put up 13 points. The lone starting five member not in double-digits was Claudell Harris, who went just 1-for-5 from beyond the arch inducing just seven points out of him.

Boston College will continue the road trip and take on NC State Saturday in Raleigh at 2:00 p.m. ET, with the Eagles hoping to avoid the double-digit mark of losses in ACC play. The Wolfpack are losers of three out of their last four, however.

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Takeaways: BC Defends Homecourt against Louisville and Miami

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Mason Madsen hitting one of his seven threes. Photo Courtesy of Canes County

Recap:

Last week, the Boston College Men’s Basketball team was able to defend home court twice: on Tuesday night against Louisville, and on Saturday afternoon against Miami. Late Tuesday night, the Eagles were able to overcome a sluggish start, and an empty Conte Forum, and beat the last-place Louisville Cardinals 89-77. The Eagles saw six players reach double figures in scoring, led by Claudell Harris Jr.’s 20 points,  Devin McGlockton’s 19 points, and Quinten Post’s 17 points. This win was especially crucial for BC, as they were coming off consecutive losses to FSU and Duke, and allowed the Eagles to stay in contact with the middle tier of the ACC. 

After taking down Louisville in a desolate Conte Forum, the Eagles returned to their home court on Saturday to a much different scene. With a much more fan-friendly tipoff time of 4PM, Conte played host to an excellent crowd for their matchup against Miami. And, to the delight of the Eagle-faithful, BC got off to a scorching hot start, taking an 18-7 lead early on. While the Hurricanes were able to even the score at halftime, and take as much as a five-point lead late in the second half, Mason Madsen’s hot hand, and Post’s dominance in the paint were enough to propel the Eagles to an 85-77 victory. 

Offensive Excellence:

After scoring just 62 against FSU and 65 against Duke, I was beginning to lose faith in Coach Grant’s offensive system. However, these past two games have been excellent offensive showings for the Eagles. Against Louisville, BC scored a remarkable 89 points on 56.7% from the field, and 47.8% from behind the arc. And it wasn’t that the Eags were knocking down uncharacteristically difficult shots. Grant’s offense was actually able to generate great looks for open shooters, racking up 21 assists in the process. 

While it might not have been surprising to see the Eagles rack up 89 points on the last place team in the ACC, it was certainly encouraging to see them follow up with a similar performance against Miami. In Saturday’s game, the offense put up 85 points on similarly efficient splits of 47.5% from the field and 50% (15-30!) from three. Madsen and Post led the way offensively, accounting for 15 of the Eagles’ 28 converted field goals. If Grant can keep the offense humming the way it has for the past two outings, each of the six games remaining on the schedule look very winnable. 

Madsen Madness:

Since being inserted into the starting lineup against Duke, Mason Madsen has been an absolute revelation for the Eagles. In the past three games, the Eagles are 2-1, with their lone loss coming away at Duke. Throughout that three game span, Madsen has led the Eagles in scoring, averaging 17 points per game. And the highlight of this stretch came in his 25-point performance against Miami, where he hit (possibly) the most important three-pointer of the Eagles’ season. 

Madsen absolutely torched the Hurricanes from behind the arc, knocking down a career-high seven three pointers en route to the win. With Madsen’s latest hot streak from three, he is now shooting 45.8% from beyond the arc, which is well above the 90th percentile in Division One. With Madsen now in the starting lineup, the Eagles now have three serious threats from behind the arc, with Post hitting 46.1% of his attempts, and Harris Jr. hitting 38.9% of his. The spacing and offensive flow of Grant’s new-look starting five is enormously better with Madsen in for Aligbe, but we will see if the Eagles can survive without Aligbe’s size and added rebounding. 

Defensive Concerns:

While the offense was clicking on all cylinders last week, I cannot help but be a bit concerned about the Eagles’ defense. In an interesting contrast to Grant’s first two seasons, where the Eagles hung their hats on their ability to defend, this iteration of the Eagles’ roster is much more capable offensively, but has shown some cracks on the defensive end. For example, BC gave up 47 first half points on 51% shooting against Louisville. While Louisville has shown some ability to score, there is no legitimate reason to allow the last place team in the ACC to run up the score like that. Thankfully, the Eagles woke up on defense in the second frame, only allowing 30 second half points. 

Next, against Miami, at times it felt like the Hurricanes could get whatever look they wanted on offense. The Hurricanes shot 56% in the first half, and frankly, it could have been much worse. The Eagles seemed flummoxed by the Hurricane’s pick and roll, and whenever Post was switched off of Miami’s Norchad Omier, it seemed to always result in an open shot. Though I will give Grant credit for switching to his “amoeba” defense down the stretch. While Miami was able to exploit the Eagle’s man-to-man defense, they struggled with the matchup-zone look in the waning minutes. BC’s defense down the stretch was the key to igniting their 17-4 run to end the game. 

Outlook on the Remaining Schedule:

Thanks to the Eagles’ 2-0 homestand, they are now in contact with the middle of the ACC. After falling to 13-10 (4-8 ACC) after Duke, they were in real danger of dooming themselves to the basement of the ACC. But, with eight teams within two games of each other in the ACC standings, the Eagles will have several opportunities to continue climbing the ladder. BC’s remaining schedule consists of road games against Florida State and NC State, a homestand against UVA and Pitt, and a pair of road games against Miami and Pitt.

The good news for the Eagles? All six of these games are extremely winnable. The bad news? All six of these games are also losable. The margin for error is razor thin in this final stretch of the regular season. But, if the Eagles can find a way to win 3-4 of these games, they could be in contention for a first round bye in the ACC tournament, and perhaps a bid to the NIT. 

What’s Next:

Boston College returns to action Tuesday night at 7PM, when they will take on the aforementioned Florida State Seminoles. After losing a gut-wrenching 63-62 game to the Seminoles in Conte Forum, the Eagles will be looking for revenge. This game also has severe implications for the ACC standings, as FSU holds a one-game lead over BC in the standings. The Seminoles open as 4.5-point favorites against the Eagles. 

A win would go a long way towards securing that first-round bye, but even more so for the energy surrounding the program. We just saw what a packed Conte Forum can look like against Miami. So it is imperative that the Eagles return home with some kind of momentum, and get fans invested in the team’s stretch run.

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Boston College 85, Miami 77: Mason Madsen hits career-highs in Eagles win over Hurricanes

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Mason Madsen had a day to remember for Boston College Saturday, as he led the Eagles past Miami with a career-high seven 3-pointers and 25 points. BC won, 85-77, as they kept the momentum from a quick start all the way through.

The Eagles were ahead fast and early, jumping out to an 18-7 lead just five minutes into the ballgame. Miami eventually caught up to them though in a back-and-forth, high-scoring battle — the Hurricanes tied it at 29-29 with 7:41 to go in the first half. They battled until the end of the half, when it was tied 41-41 after 20 minutes of play.

It remained back-and-forth but Miami began to gain an edge about halfway through the second half. They then held on to a lead from the 12-minute mark all the way to the three-minute mark, but the Eagles’ deficit didn’t get further than four points away from the Hurricanes. A Claudell Harris Jr. layup with three minutes to go made it 74-73 Eagles, and they added on from there. Madsen knocked down a 3 before a pair of Devin McGlockton converted free throws put them in front by six with a minute to go, and they held on to that lead with a few baskets made from both sides to give BC the 85-77 victory.

Quinten Post had 23 for the Eagles, a big night for him after he had been struggling the past few outings, also knocking down a trio of 3-pointers. Harris Jr. had 15 while Jaeden Zackery added 11 to go along with seven assists. McGlockton picked up a team-best 10 rebounds.

BC moves to 6-8 in conference play Tuesday night in Tallahassee as they take on Florida State with a 7 p.m. ET tip. They continue the road trip with a matchup against the Wolfpack a week from today, as NC State plays hosts to BC next Saturday afternoon in the 2:00 p.m. ET slot.

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