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Takeaways: BC Basketball goes 3-0 in a busy week




The past week for the Boston College Men’s Basketball team can’t be described as anything other than a success. The Eagles played three games, and came away with three wins. On Tuesday, the Eagles took on Central Connecticut State, taking them down by a score of 82-68. However, this game did not have the makings of a 14-point victory, as BC led by as much as 33 points in the second half. Bench guards Donald Hand Jr. and Mason Madsen led the team in scoring, putting in 16 points and 15 points, respectively. On Friday, the Eagles took on cross-state rivals Holy Cross. After a first half that was far closer than anyone expected, the Eagles won the contest in convincing fashion, taking down the Crusaders 95-64. Jaeden Zackery led the Eagles with 18 points, and Madsen had another big game, putting up a season-high 17 points. 

Lastly, on Sunday, the Eagles had their toughest matchup of the week against Saint John’s in what was effectively a road game. The Red Storm came into the game rated 52nd on NET, far better than any team BC had previously beaten this season. So the table was set for a tough, competitive game. After a back-and-forth first half where BC took a two-point lead into the locker room, the Eagles went down 10 points early in the second half. However Grant’s squad stormed back with a 19-4 run, and executed down the stretch en route to an 86-80 victory over the Red Storm. BC received contributions from the entire roster, as Quinten Post had an absurd 14/11/9 statline, Zackery had an efficient 14 points, and Harris added 14 key points off the bench. 

Season-Altering Win in Brooklyn:

With their win in Brooklyn, Boston College now sits at 8-3 on the season. While this has been the Eagles’ best start in years, keeping postseason hope alive relies on dominating out-of-conference. After BC gave the game to Loyola, they could not afford many more non-ACC losses, and the difference between 8-3 and 7-4 is miles wide. Outside of wins and losses, the Saint John’s win also gets fans back on board with what Grant is trying to build. The Eagles had momentum after starting 4-0, but many fans might have written this season off after bad losses to Loyola and NC State. But a gritty win against a storied Big East opponent is going to turn the heads of a lot of local fans and alumni.

Taking Care of Business at Home:

The main takeaway from the Eagles’ first two games this week is that they simply took care of business. Fans have seen far too many instances of the Eagles playing down to their out-of-conference competition. Last year alone, BC lost a pair of buy-games to Maine and New Hampshire, and only beat Stonehill by a mere 7 points. These games against lower-level competition are games where you just want to see the Eagles dominate. And, contrary to last season, the Eagles were able to do just that. 

On Tuesday, the Eagles outplayed Central Connecticut right from the jump ball, only letting up once Grant put the walk-ons in the game. Then, on Friday, the Eagles played as horrible a first half as they have played all season, allowing Holy Cross a glimmer of hope going into the locker room. But, once the second half began, BC convincingly slammed the door shut on Holy Cross, extending their lead by as much as 31 points. 

Bench Got Deeper:

One thing Coach Grant emphasized in his post-game press conferences was how the games against Central Connecticut and Holy Cross provided opportunities for the bench to get deeper. As previously mentioned, Madsen and Hand Jr. led the Eagles in scoring against Central Connecticut. This is huge for the bench duo, as they had been coming off some down games from the past few weeks. What’s most encouraging for these two is how they both followed up big games on Tuesday with great games on Friday and Sunday. Madsen put in 17 points against Holy Cross, and a pivotal 7 points against St. John’s. Hand Jr. followed up with 13 points against the Crusaders and 11 against the Red Storm. 

Lastly, Chas Keley III had a fantastic game on Sunday. The sophomore guard came into the game struggling, averaging just 2.7 points on 30.6% shooting. But with Harris Jr. facing a minor injury, Kelley IIIwas pushed into a starting role against Holy Cross and Saint John’s. And on Sunday, the young guard far exceeded expectations, scoring 13 points in his 24 minutes. With Madsen, Hand Jr. and Kelley III all rounding into form before conference play, the Eagles are starting to see some legitimate depth in the back court. If the reserve forwards can make the same leap in productivity, this has the makings of a very deep roster.


If you wanted to nitpick on the past three games, you certainly could. Some might say the Eagles needlessly messed up their NET rating against Central Connecticut, when the walk-ons allowed a 14-0 to end the game. Some might say the first half against Holy Cross was entirely too close, and far beneath the dignity of a Power-6 basketball team. Some might say, free throws and turnovers are still very real concerns after the Saint John’s game. These are all very real and valid cancers. However, at the end of the day, the Eagles won two games in dominating fashion, gritted out a physical win against a good Big East team, and are carrying momentum into a much tougher portion of the season. 

With their last out-of-conference game coming at home against Lehigh, the Eagles are in a position to finish their pre-ACC slate at 9-2, which is as good a record as any fan could have expected. This BC team is far from a perfect one, as seen in their breakdowns against Loyola and NC State. But 8-3, with ample room for improvement, is a great play to be through 11 games. 

What’s Next: 

After their busy 3-0 week, the Eagles have an 11-day break before they return to action on Thursday December 21st against Lehigh. The Thursday night slate in Conte serves as the Eagles final game before the bulk of ACC play. With the Mountain Hawks currently sitting at a 2-7 (0-5 away) record, the Eagles should be heavy favorites. Given the way BC dominated lower-level competition this week, fans should not have to be as worried about a potential “What the Heck” loss, but the possibility always looms. Following their matchup with Lehigh, the Eagles will not play again until the new year, when they will take on Wake Forest at home on Tuesday January 2nd.

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



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



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


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



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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