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Takeaways: BC picks up its first ACC Win against Georgia Tech




Last Saturday, the Boston College Eagles captured their first ACC win of the season, beating the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on the road by a score of 95-87. This game was truly a tale of two halves, as the Eagles went into halftime trailing 51-38. However, thanks to the second half heroics of Devin McGlockton and Claudell Harris Jr., BC was able to come all the way back. The Eagles outscored Georgia Tech by an eye-popping 57-36 margin in the second half. 

McGlockton, a native of the Atlanta area, had over thirty friends and family in attendance, and led all scorers with a career-high 30 points on 12-15 shooting from the field. Harris Jr. added 26 crucial points, on an efficient 8-10 shooting. And Quinten Post also stuffed the box score, with 15 points, 7 assists, and 4 rebounds. 

Second Half Resurgence:

After two disappointing losses at home, many fans felt this matchup in Atlanta was a “must-win” game. While the season is not going to be decided by 3 games, a 1-2 ACC start is worlds better than 0-3. And after an ugly first 20 minutes of basketball, 0-3 seemed all but certain. However, the Eagles came out of the locker room with a newfound sense of urgency, and were able to tie the game with 10:57 to play. After going back and forth down the stretch, BC was able to pull away in the waning minutes, thanks to some clutch shotmaking from Harris Jr. and McGlockton. 

While fans might have been surprised to see this second-half rally from the Eagles, this was not the first time they displayed this second half resilience. BC also overcame substantial second half deficits against The Citadel, Richmond, and Harvard. So this team that’s shown immense resiliency in the first half of this season. The Eagles’ ability to make second half runs will surely be crucial as they take on more competitive opponents going forward. 

Huge Homecoming for McGlockton:

Devin McGlockton was clearly the Eagles’ player of the game. The Georgia native put on quite the show for his friends and family that made the trip to Atlanta, obliterating his previous career high with a 30-point performance. The sophomore forward did his work both inside and out, showcasing some nice finishes around the hoop, and stepping outside to hit three of four attempts from behind the arc. 

McGlockton’s three point success is definitely something to monitor, as the big man had not not shot many prior to this season. But at the urging of the Eagles’ coaching staff, McGlockton has shown some more willingness to let it fly from distance. If McGlockton can become more of a perimeter threat, it would add an interesting wrinkle to the Eagles’ offensive scheme, which has already proven to be far more dynamic than in previous seasons.

Harris Jr.’s Shooting Symphony:

Speaking of dynamic offenses, Claudell Harris Jr. once again showed that he is the Eagle’s most electric scorer, as he knocked down jump shot after jump shot in the win. Harris Jr. ended with 26 points on absurd efficiency. The transfer guard only missed two shots all night, and knocked down all four of his three point attempts. The most impressive part of Harris Jr.’s game, however, was the variety of shots that he was able to convert on. Harris had a four-point-play off the hand-off, a step-back three from the corner, a turnaround fadeaway from the elbow, and many more. Since his early season struggles, the junior guard has been electric. Harris Jr. continues to raise his scoring average, and is now up to 15.5 points per game on the season, and 21 points per his last four games. 

Defensive Dilemmas:

While a road win in the ACC is never something to take for granted, the Eagles escaped Georgia Tech with much to work on defensively. It is nearly impossible to win a college basketball game after giving up 51 points in the first half, but the Eagles managed it thanks to Harris Jr. and McGlockton each having their best games of the season. However, the BC cannot always rely on McGlockton to score 30 points, or on its offense to score 57 in the second half. 

Ever since Coach Grant was hired, he has billed his teams as being “Gritty Not Pretty”, emphasizing the defensive end of the floor. However, in three ACC games, opponents have put up 85 points per game against the Eagles, which is neither Gritty nor Pretty. In the first half against the Yellow Jackets, BC could not guard the high pick and roll whatsoever. It seemed as if every possession in the first half either resulted in a good look at the rim, or an open three off of help defense. In the post game press conference, Grant agreed that his team’s defense has not been where he wants it to be, and will look to make some key adjustments before Wednesday’s game against Syracuse. 

What’s Next:

The Eagles return to action in Syracuse, where they will take on the Orange for a late night affair, looking to pick up its second win in the ACC. Syracuse enters Wednesday with an identical record to BC, coming in at 10-4 (1-2 ACC). The Orange hold a win over Pitt, and 20-point losses to Duke and Virginia. After losing starters Joe Girard and Jesse Edwards, the Orange do not appear to have the fire power they previously had under Jim Boeheim. But Judah Mintz and JJ Starling make up one of the best back courts in the ACC, so the Eagles will have their work cut out for them. 

Following their game Wednesday, the Eagles fly south to South Carolina, where they will take on the Clemson Tigers on Saturday. The Eagles finally return to Conte for a Monday night game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. With Saturday’s win over Georgia Tech, the Eagles kept their postseason hopes alive. But with two early home losses, they can ill afford to give away many more games to the middle of the ACC.

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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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