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Takeaways: BC drops a heartbreaker to FSU, looking ahead to Duke

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Photo Courtesy of BC Athletics

Recap:

Last Tuesday night, the Boston College Men’s Basketball Team suffered a loss to a tough Florida State team, by the closest of margins. After allowing the Seminoles to get out to a 19-4 lead early, the Eagles were able to claw their way back into the game, eventually tying the game at 52. However, the Eagles were unable to carry their momentum through the end of the game. In fact, they were never even able to take the lead. After a Devin McGlockton layup cut the FSU lead to 63-62, and the Seminoles’ Darin Green Jr. missed the front end of a 1-and-1, BC had 5.8 seconds to draw a play to win the game. 

And, to the chagrin of the dozens of students in attendance, the Eagles were unable to get a shot at the rim. In an especially pivotal game, where BC had the opportunity to make up significant ground in the ACC standings, they instead fell back to their usual 12th place. For a team that’s said time and time again that they want to be playing their best basketball in February and March, it was especially disappointing to witness the same story we’ve been seeing for the past two months. 

Same Old, Same Old:

Go down big early, fight all the way back in the second half, and come up just short of a win. Unfortunately, Eagles’ fans have had to witness this formula unfold several times throughout the course of BC’s ACC schedule. We saw it happen in the ACC opener against NC State, when the Eagles fought back from an 11-point deficit, just to lose in overtime. We saw it again against Syracuse, when Boston College went down 28-9, yet somehow were able to take a lead late in the second half, just to come up short of the W. Then, like clockwork, we watched them go into halftime against Virginia Tech down 44-33, cut the lead to just two points down the stretch, and then immediately give up five straight points to push the game out of reach. 

So, after a whole week’s rest after their win against Syracuse, one would hope that Coach Grant is able to have his team come out with a bit more fire. Instead, the Eagles spotted the Seminoles a 15-point lead before the second media timeout. It’s just incredibly frustrating to see the same story unfold for a fourth time. This is certainly not to say that all four of these games should have been Eagle wins because that’s just plausible. But, BC’s slow starts continuing to be a trend this late in the season is a real issue. 

To be fair, the Eagles have shown they can overcome these early deficits. In three of their four conference wins, they trailed their opponents by nine or more points. They trailed Georgia Tech by 16 early in the second half, Notre Dame by 12 in the first half, and Syracuse by 9 in the first half. So, they might be able to get away with it against the worse teams in the ACC, but against teams the Eagles are supposed to be competing with, it’s just not going to fly. All fans can do is hope that Grant figures out a way to shake the sluggish starts, but, with just nine games remaining on the regular schedule, patience is running thin. 

Final Play and Post-Game Quotes:

As mentioned in the recap section, despite going down 19-4 early in the first half, the Eagles still had a chance to win the game late. Trailing 63-62, BC rebounded an FSU missed free throw, and had a chance to draw up a play to win the game with 5.8 seconds remaining. Grant decided to inbound the ball to Quinten Post at the top of the key and trust his senior leader to make the right play. Unfortunately, the play was promptly shut down, and the Eagles failed to even get a shot at the basket. While I don’t think this was squarely on the coaches or players, it is still a pretty abhorrent way to end a basketball game at home. 

It was pretty clear that the coaches and players were not on the same page. When asked what they were looking for in the postgame presser, Post gave a jumbled answer that included “I couldn’t exactly tell you” and “…we wanted a good shot… I don’t think we got a good shot”.  Grant gave a much more in-depth answer to the question, explaining how they wanted Post to go to either Jaeden Zackery or Claudell Harris Jr., and if all else fails, drive to the hoop seeking contact. 

FSU pressured Post immediately on the catch, so the big man passed to Zackery, who was promptly doubled, before turning the ball over. Given how the Seminoles defended, the Eagles’ coaching staff likely would have preferred Post to take it to the basket himself. Regardless of the outcome, I’m of the opinion that giving the ball to your 7-footer 25 feet from the basket might not have been the best idea with just 5.8 seconds on the clock. 

Key Performers:

With all my negativity from this game, I would be remiss not to shoutout some key individual performance that allowed the Eagles to stay in this game. First, Post had a phenomenal game, putting up an efficient 21 points and 12 rebound stat-line. The Dutchman converted on 9 of his 13 field goal attempts and went 3-5 from behind the arc. But despite this fantastic performance, the big man was still visibly frustrated with himself, and the team, for allowing FSU to escape Chestnut Hill with a win. 

After Post’s performance, the Eagles’ second leading scorer actually came off the bench. And no, his name was not Claudell Harris Jr.. Mason Madsen had himself a very solid game, scoring 12 points on 5-11 shooting, including a pair of timely three-point baskets. While Madsen admittedly air-balled a wide-open shot with under a minute remaining, he still turned one of his better performances of the season. While Madsen is known for his prolific three-point shooting, the junior guard had a couple of tough finishes at the rim. 

What’s Next:

The Eagles return to action against an absolute buzzsaw of opponents. Grant’s team will be traveling to famed Cameron Indoor Stadium, to take on the 9th-ranked Duke Blue Devils. The Eagles will obviously be underdogs in this matchup, as the Blue Devils are 3rd in the ACC, and boast one of the most prolific home court advantages in college basketball. However, I do not think the Blue Devils pose a particularly bad matchup for the Eagles. While BC was obviously not comfortable with Florida State’s noticeable length and unusual playstyle, this Duke squad is built in a much more traditional in its playstyle. 

Lately, Duke has been starting three guards (Roach, Proctor, McCain), an athletic forward (Mitchell), and a dynamic center (Filipowski). With Aligbe’s recent injury, I think it is more than likely that Grant will start Zackery, McGlockton, Post, and two of Kelley III/Harris Jr./Madsen. So, while the Blue Devils are clearly the more talented team, in terms of matchups, I don’t think the Eagles will be terribly overmatched. Obviously, with a statement like that, I am setting myself up for disappointment. But, with the weekend that BC Athletics is having, why can’t the Eagles pull off the upset?

With a win, the Eagles would improve to 14-9 (5-7 ACC) on the season, and likely rise to t-10th in the conference standings. With a loss, the Eagles would fall to 13-10 on the season, and remain in 12th place in the conference standings, regardless of how teams below them perform. While I’ve had this matchup penciled in as a loss all season, I don’t think this Duke team is invincible to bad losses. This Duke team has lost to Pitt at home, to Georgia Tech in Atlanta, and let a bad Notre Dame team stick around for 38 minutes. So, looking at the ACC standings, a loss to BC would certainly not be their worst of the season. 

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Basketball

DiMauro: All in all, a solid year for BC sports

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If you are reading this, chances are your primary means of remaining connected to Boston College runs through athletics.

Oh, and we’ve been tortured souls, too, especially in recent years. We are idealists and fatalists, demanding yet forgiving, loyal and resilient, even if sometimes it feels as though we make the long trek up the cliff to Lovers Leap … only to get shoved.

All of which makes the sports year of 2023-24 a time to celebrate. Boston College did itself proud, no small occurrence given that in this unsteady (perverse?) time of expansion and realignment, schools like BC must always look their Sunday best, with no overt warts or love handles.

Women’s lacrosse, BC’s working definition of pride and joy, capped the sports season with the national championship Memorial Day weekend in Cary, NC. It was the program’s second natty in four years, a three-hour infomercial for the entire institution and more proof that, yes, it can be done at BC with the right coach.

Acacia Walker-Weinstein – you’ll note that only the letter “W” separates her from “Einstein” – not only hung a banner, but helped BC earn a distinction few other athletic programs in the country could trumpet. How many other schools made national championship games (both televised by ESPN) in two different sports fewer than two months apart?

Think about that one: Men’s hockey, during an otherwise memorable season, fell short in the national championship game. But the Sons of Greg Brown did the school proud all season. Not a bad accomplishment to see “BC in the national finals” on the ESPN scroll in mid-April (hockey) and late May (lacrosse). It’s hard to buy that kind of advertising, particularly when and if realignment and expansion happen again.

Football won a bowl game over a ranked team at Fenway Park, returns a dynamo in Thomas Castellanos and then made the splash of a cannonball, hiring Bill O’Brien as head coach. Three other women’s sports showed promise as well: field hockey (11-7, made the ACC Tournament); softball (30-24, made the ACC Tournament) and volleyball, which continues to improve steadily under coach Jason Kennedy, finished 19-13 and made the ACC Tournament.

Otherwise, baseball gets a pass as new coach Todd Interdonato assimilates to the ACC and establishes his culture; the soccer programs (3-9-5 and 3-9-6) were lousy; and I remain concerned about men’s and women’s basketball. Put it this way: Sure feels as though better players are leaving than are entering.

Off the field, “Friends Of The Heights,” BC’s Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) collective, grew massively, keeping BC competitive in a cutthroat environment. Friends Of The Heights also homered into the upper deck, hiring veteran athletic administrator Jim Paquette as its new Chief Development Officer. Paquette will advise the Board on overall development strategies, using his 16 years as an administrator at BC that specialized in fundraising.

BC’s overall cachet also made a splash on social media when Forbes Magazine named it one of the country’s “New Ivies.”

Based on its researchForbes, the century-old national business magazine, reported that American companies are souring on hiring Ivy League graduates, instead preferring high achievers from 20 other prominent universities – “Private and Public New Ivies.”

BC joins private school “New Ivies” Carnegie Mellon, Emory, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, Rice, Notre Dame, Southern California and Vanderbilt. Ah, to be judged by the company one keeps.

One school year hasn’t produced this much for BC in years. And it’s significant. The idea now is to build, not regress.

Full disclosure: There are many things I still don’t like. I’m told Father Leahy neither attended the Frozen Four nor the lacrosse Final Four. It is disrespectful to the players, coaches and alumni to have a leader who acts as if so much about what makes BC great is beneath him. And we still seem to have these spasms of tone deafness, such as patrolling the parking lots like stormtroopers the day of the spring football game.

But 2023-24 was an encouraging year for BC in many ways. Yes, we always want more. But we were getting less for a long time. Not this year. A tip of the cap to athletic director Blake James, his staff, the coaches and the kids.

We pause now to enjoy summer and await Labor Day night in Tallahassee. Here’s to 2024-25, hollering “Mr. Brightside” again with the kids from the crowded bleachers.

Mike DiMauro, a columnist in Connecticut, is a contributor to Eagles Daily and a member of BC’s Class of 1990. He may be reached at m.dimauro@theday.com or @BCgenius 

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Boston College lands commitment from transfer Roger McFarlane

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Earl Grant and his staff continue to rebuild the roster, landing their fourth commitment from the transfer portal in Roger McFarlane out of SE Louisiana. The guard comes to the Eagles with one year of eligibility and posted an impressive 14.8 points per game to go along with 8.6 rebounds a contest. Additionally, McFarlane impressed with an early season matchup with Auburn, posting 25 points and 11 rebounds. The Fort Lauderdale native recently visited Temple before ultimately choosing Chestnut Hill as his final collegiate destination.

Additionally, McFarlane now becomes the third guard BC has signed through the portal, joining UMBC’s Dion Brown and Clemson’s Josh Beadle. Rounding out the transfer class is center Chad Venning out of St. Bonaventure. Along with three incoming freshman, there is now one remaining scholarship spot left.

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Roster Revamp: Kany Tchanda’s Late Commitment Nearly Completes the Eagles’ 2024-25 Team

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Tchanda Showcasing his Elite Athleticism for Sunrise Christian Academy

After a wild couple of weeks in the world of college basketball, with thousands of players leaving their schools, the transfer portal buzz has finally started to cool down. And the Boston College basketball roster has undergone some major reconstruction, even by today’s standards. The Eagles saw six of their key returners enter their name in the portal: Jaeden Zackery, Mason Madsen, Claudell Harris Jr, Prince Aligbe, Devin McGlockton, and Armani Mighty. And, in relatively short order, brought in three names to replace them: Chad Venning, Josh Beadle, and Dion Brown (and nearly one more that I won’t mention). However, after the flurry of transfers in and out, the Eagles were left with three roster spots yet to be filled. 

And earlier this evening, one of those three spots was filled, as Boston College landed a late Class of 2024 commitment from Kany Tchanda, a forward from Wichita, Kansas. The 6’9 forward adds depth to the Eagle front court, with some much needed length and athleticism. 247Sports has Tchanda as the 3rd-ranked player from Kansas, the 31st-ranked center, and 205th-ranked overall player for the Class of 2024. For reference, 247 gives Tchanda an 88 “Player Rating”, which would put him right between Chas Kelley’s 86 and Prince Aligbe’s 89. While recruiting rankings are by no means a reliable predictor of collegiate success, Tchanda certainly has the potential to be a contributor down the line. 

In his three years at Boston College, Coach Grant has shown a willingness to take on long-term projects in the front court. Most notably, under his tutelage, Quinten Post became an NBA-caliber talent and Devin McGlockton went from an unranked recruit to one of the better forwards in the ACC. But even freshman Elijah Strong exceeded his (albeit low) preseason expectations, and has many Eagles fans excited about his future with the program. And last season, Grant red-shirted Jayden Hastings, the highest-rated recruit in the Eagles’ 2023 Class, opting to give him a full year of development before trotting him onto the court. Perhaps Grant has similar plans for Tchanda, who certainly looks the part of the slept-on, high-upside forward.

With Kany Tchanda’s signing, the 2024-25 Boston College roster is starting to take shape, as they have just two scholarships remaining. Last season, the program opted to use just 12 of their 13 scholarships, so don’t be shocked if they bank on this season in hopes of a larger 2025 Class. 

For more Boston College Hoops updates, follow along @EaglesDailyBC and @JackPSeiberlich on Twitter, as we eagerly await the final pieces of the Eagles’ 2024-25 roster to come together. 

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