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Takeaways: Eagles escape The Citadel with a Gritty Win

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Recap:

The Boston College Eagles were able to hold off the Bulldogs of The Citadel, winning 75-71. After Quinten Post picked up his second foul just 3:34 into the contest, The Citadel was able to keep pace with Boston College, eventually taking a 38-35 lead into halftime. The Bulldogs carried their momentum into the second half, eventually stretching their lead to as much as six points. With Post playing limited minutes due to foul trouble, the Eagles relied on the leadership of Jaeden Zackery, as well as scoring outbursts from guards DJ Hand and MJ Harris. A personal 5-0 run from Harris allowed the Eagles to take back the lead, going up 60-58 with 9:00 to go in the game, and never relinquished it. Zackery led the way for the Eagles, scoring 21 points on 8-12 from the field. Harris and Devin McGlockton each added 12 points, while Hand scored a crucial 14 points off the bench.

Zackery’s Leadership:

Veteran guard Jaeden Zackery showed remarkable leadership throughout this game. In a game where the best player in the building was stuck on the bench due to foul trouble, the Eagles desperately needed someone to pick up the slack, and Zackery stepped up and delivered. Zackery played 39 of 40 minutes last night, and the Eagles needed every last one of them. With Post on the bench, Zackery was easily the Eagles’ most valuable player on both ends of the floor, racking up a career-high 21 points and swiping 4 steals en route to the victory. With his stellar perimeter defense and ability to make tough buckets, Zackery is the absolute epitome of “gritty not pretty”.

Concerns in the Front Court:

As mentioned in the game recap, Post picked up two quick fouls in the first half, forcing Coach Grant to take him off the floor. The big man was able to return to the game and finish the first half without picking up his third, but picked up fouls three and four after getting called for a ticky-tack hand check and getting hit with a technical. All together, the Eagles only saw Post on the floor for 19 minutes, in which he posted 10 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 blocks, a far cry from his 31/11/4 stat line against Fairfield. While Post certainly did not have his best performance, the more concerning issue is the Eagles’ lack of depth in the front court. Armani Mighty was the only forward to come off the bench for the Eagles. And while Mighty looked much improved from last season in spot minutes against Fairfield, he definitely struggled last night, going 0-3 from under the basket. With Mighty still coming into his own, look for Grant to play lots of three-guard lineups with Prince Aligbe and McGlockton in the front court during Post’s bench minutes.

Hand as a Spark off the Bench:

The Eagles do not win this game without the performance of sophomore guard DJ Hand. One could argue that, outside of Zackery, Hand was the Eagles’ best offensive player. Hand’s 14 points came on 5-11 efficiency, and the sophomore was able to get buckets both inside and outside the arc. In both games this season, Hand has proven to be an incredibly valuable scorer off the bench, averaging 11.5 points. When the offense got stagnant with Post on the bench, Hand was able to put the ball in the basket in key moments, keeping BC within striking distance. While Zackery has been excellent thus far, the Eagles cannot reasonably expect Zackery to duplicate his stellar performance each night. So having Hand as a spark plug off the bench is crucial, and Grant will continue to give the sophomore guard opportunities to prove himself.

Got the Job Done:

My last takeaway is simple: the Eagles found a way to win this game. In seasons past, this is a game the BC loses (see: the Maine game last year). Away from their home court, the Eagles found themselves in a hole, with their best player having foul trouble all game, and The Citadel shooting over 50% from beyond the arc in the first half. A less mature team might have folded and chalked this game up as “just one of those games”, but not these Eagles. There are those who, understandably so, will say a four-point victory over a bottom-100 team is no victory at all. But the bottom line is simple, Grant and his squad found a way to win. Grant’s mantra has always been “Gritty not Pretty”, and Friday night’s victory exemplifies that perfectly.

What’s Next:

After their tough game on the road, the Eagles fly home for a pair of home games next week. Boston College will take on the Richmond Spiders this Wednesday at 7 PM, followed by an inter-Boston clash against the Harvard Crimson next Saturday at 5 PM. The Eagles will likely be slightly favored in both games, but nothing can be taken for granted with this team. With Richmond and Harvard both ranked within 80 spots of BC in Ken Pomeroy’s Division-1 rankings, both games should be competitive. As I’ve said before, I believe this team has the talent to make some noise in the ACC. And if the Eagles want to have any chance of making a postseason tournament, they must continue capitalizing on their out-of-conference schedule.

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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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