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Seiberlich’s thoughts heading into Saturday vs. UNC

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Recap:

On Monday Night, Conte Forum finally saw the Boston College Eagles win an ACC game. In an intense back-and-forth affair, the Eagles took down the Notre Dame Fighting Irish by a score of 63-59, Jaeden Zackery led all scorers, with an efficient 20 points. And Quinten Post added 17 points of his own, with 11 coming in the final 5 minutes of the contest. After falling behind by double digits in the first half, the Eagles rallied to open the second half, opening the frame with a 10-2 run to regain the lead. The final 15:00 of this game featured some thrilling back and forth between the two teams, highlighted by three ties and eleven lead changes. 

However, the Eagles nearly gave the game to the Irish, after leading by four points with 19 seconds to play. Up 61-57, the Eagles gave the Irish’s Markus Burton a free layup with the foul, gave up an offensive rebound, and left Carey Booth wide open for a three which would have put the Irish ahead. Fortunately, the Irish big man missed the shot, the Eagles secured the rebound, and escaped the night with a win. 

Keeping The Status Quo:

While it was fun to finally see the Eagles take down a conference opponent in front of a home crowd, my first takeaway is that fans did not really learn anything new about this team. We’re far enough along in the season that we largely know who this team is and what can be expected of them. We know that Coach Grant tends to not call timeouts in the midst of an opposing team’s scoring run. After taking a 17-16 lead early, the Eagles gave up a 15-2 run to the Irish, soon finding themselves down 31-19. We know that these Eagles love to dig themselves into a hole early, but that they can also dig themselves out. Of their eleven wins on the season, the Eagles have trailed by ten or more points in five of them. 

And lastly, we know that the Eagles have had struggles closing out tight games. They could not hold on to late leads against Wake Forest, NC State, or Syracuse. BC nearly blew a four-point lead with 19 seconds to go, and had they been playing a more talented team than Notre Dame, perhaps they would have. However, we don’t live in a world of hypotheticals, and the Eagles will take any ACC win they can get. This win now puts the Eagles at 11-6 (2-4 ACC), and it looks a heck of a lot better than 10-7 (1-5 ACC). 

JZ Returning to Form:

Zackery and Post combined for a total of zero (0) points in a frustratingly close loss to Syracuse. So seeing Zackery tear off a couple of good scoring games against Clemson and Notre Dame was extremely refreshing. In their last two games, Zackery has scored 38 points, shooting a combined 16-22 from the field, and 3-5 from three. Zackery was especially excellent against Notre Dame, and was the main reason the Eagles went into halftime within spitting distance of the Irish.

The junior guard continues to show the value of continuity and veteran leadership on this team. So, with a handful of very winnable games coming up for the Eagles, hopefully Zackery can keep this momentum going. One area that Zackery could look to improve is his three-point shooting. After shooting close to 50% from deep as a freshman, Zackery saw his percentage drop to 32.2% in his sophomore season, and is down again to just 29% this season. If JZ can continue his hot shooting, and get that three-point percentage close to 35%, it

Post’s Health:

After coming down with a stomach illness that kept him out against Clemson, Post came into last Monday’s game having not scored a point in nine days. And, outside of an early bucket, he seemed like he was in for a tough shooting night against the Irish. In the first half on Monday, Post scored just two points on five shots from the floor. Post appeared to be laboring far more than usual, leaving every shot short and playing way out of character.

However, with 5 minutes left in the game, Post was able flip the switch at the exact right time. When the Eagles found themselves trailing 55-49 with 5:12 to play, the big man finally took control of the game, going on a personal 8-0 run, before hitting the go-ahead three-pointer with 44 seconds left on the clock. As mentioned earlier, Post scored 11 of his 17 points in the last 5 minutes of the game. While Post certainly did not look 100% healthy against Notre Dame, the Dutchman made the shots when they counted most. The five day break before tomorrow’s game against UNC should help Post get healthy and back to his normal self. 

Trust in Chas:

My last takeaway from this game was Coach Grant’s unwavering trust in sophomore guard Chas Kalley III. While I was a bit harsh on Kelley III in my player grades, Grant continues to trust the young guard, even calling him “a coach on the floor”. While Kelley III is not stuffing the stat sheet, he’s been a solid floor general, and a willing defender. Despite not attempting a single shot from the field on Monday, he led the team in plus/minus with a +15. The Houston native also hit the game-clinching free throws with seven seconds to play. However, in my opinion, the Eagle will eventually need some scoring from the young guard if they want to compete with the better teams in the ACC. 

What’s Next:

After picking up their second win in the conference, the Eagles will stay in Chestnut Hill, where they will take on the North Carolina Tar Heels tomorrow at 2:15 PM. The Tar Heels, currently ranked fourth in the country, will be the Eagles’ toughest opponent to date. UNC’s RJ Davis has a  legitimate argument for being the best guard in the country, and poses a massive challenge for Zackery defensively. And Armando Bacot, now in his fifth year wearing the Carolina Blue, has owned the paint for the Tar Heels for the better part of his collegiate career. With a 14-3 (6-0 ACC) record, UNC poses a massive challenge for the Eagles, but also presents a tremendous opportunity. If the Eagles can somehow engineer an upset tomorrow, not only will they climb the ranks of the ACC, but the fan support will be back in Conte in full force. The BC Nation got a taste of it on Monday, but a win over a fourth-ranked opponent will bring the “Conte Buzz” to a whole other level.

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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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