CHESTNUT HILL, Ma. -- Boston College was dominant on Monday night in their 89-70 win over Fairfield to begin the 2023-2024 campaign. Their 89 points total is the most in a season opener since 2009, and the 19-point victory margin outpaced last season's buzzer-beater win that opened the season. It was clear throughout the game that this edition of the Eagles is vastly improved, but there is still work to do to improve, Quinten Post explained postgame.
"This is the first one that you need to get," he said. "I think everybody was nervous. I was a little nervous even though it's my fifth year it's still that first game jitters kind of come on strong," he explained. "I think we've got to clean some things up sometimes we played a little too fast where we could have slowed the game down and being in control. But overall great team win."
Post, who was dominant in the opener, scored a career-high 31 points, was an efficient 11-of-14 from the field in eluding 5-of-6 beyond the arc. Fairfield had no answer for the Boston College big man who established himself inside early.
"I mean, I think I always can start my personal game by trying to establish myself inside," said Post. "That was working the first half and then in the second half, they kept going to the zone and we kind of were struggling to kind of figure it out."
Earl Grant was very complimentary of Post, who looks to be the leading scorer for the second straight season for the Eagles. Post declared for the NBA Draft after last season but later revoked his name from the Draft list and returned to the Eagles. Post missed the first 13 games of last season, but he looks to stay healthy for the entirety of the year.
"Obviously, I'm just proud of I'm happy for him and thankful that he's here," said Grant. "You know, this is his third year putting on the Boston College jersey. You know, it's a huge thing for us and for this program and for BC nation so he got rewarded the ACC most improved player last year, had another good spring and summer in kept getting better and it showed tonight."
The defensive side was just as dominant for Post, logging 11 rebounds and four blocks. Overall it was a strong showing for the Eagles defensively, but there's plenty to work on going forward.
"I think we didn't play up to our standards, to be honest," Post said. "I mean, I did effect a lot of shots at the rim, but that also meant that we're getting beat -- so that means that we have to just change little things. I hope that's something I can improve on this year. Being like a defensive anchor and like blocking shots or altering shots. It probably means that we have to change something that we're getting beat too much so that I'm getting put in that position but that's something for next game."
Grant went on to elaborate on BC's help defense philosophy that the coaching staff preaches.
"We try to come over and scratch at the ball, you know, somebody drive it and we want to come over and help help our teammate," he said. "Be in the gaps, be active, and just you know, scratch at the ball. You know, try to be an irritant. You know, get some steals and some deflections. So we work at that as a big part of our defensive scheme. Just being in the gaps and stretching at the ball."
Overall, this BC team is deeper than recent years. The Eagles have a bench the likes they have not experienced in some time. With all the new faces this is certainly the time for Earl to experiment and see what works. With 11 different players receiving minutes, including three making their BC debut, it was an opportunity to see a lot of new faces and combinations. For Post, this was a welcomed situation, explaining:
"I've played with a lot of these guys, obviously, in practice," said Post. "We change things up a lot. Coach plays with a lot of lineups. Honestly, I can't really say anything about that right now like trying to figure things out. What I can say is that we have 10 or 11 guys that are able to play and that's big for us. We haven't been as deep so I think it's just good things."
"Everybody who was eligible to play," Grant explained, "so we played a lot of guys, you know, obviously you want to win, but you also got to develop and grow your team. So I thought with the subbing early, we established the early lead, and then we lost it. We lost our way for two or three minutes. In the second half, I decided not to sub as much and play more of the older veteran guys, and they reestablished and I was able to go back to some young guys.
Post, Zackery leaders of Eagles
Post, along with Jaeden Zackery, have emerged as leaders of the team. They were the team representatives at ACC Media Day and seemingly took control of the game in the second half. This duo is crucial to the future success of the team moving forward. Zackery had 10 points on four assists.
"I mean, we both know like, we're leaders of this team," Post said. "We've been here the longest. We together have to set the tone. And I think we did that in the second half. Especially defensively."
Opening night for BC was a huge success. The energy in the building against a team like Fairfield was impressive. The students turned out and most of the lower bowl was filled.
"I loved it man," Post said. "Big fan. Like, our media team and our marketing team did a great job. I think there's a certain hype on our program this year. I think people know and people expect that this is going to be a breakout year and that's how the team feels. That's how I feel and the team feels. And I think you can kind of feel it in the air man like, yeah, I think fans were great tonight. We had to show up. I hope that the next time we'll have more people show up and then we can turn Conte into a really hard place to play."
Cleaning things up
Even with a 19-point victory, Grant still sees areas to improve. The ball movement was noticeably better tonight, but there are 'patches' to improve, including cleaning up 15 turnovers.
"Yeah, overall. It was good. We thought we had an advantage," said Grant. "But overall the ball was really good. Again, those patches and we didn't play as well as we needed to. That's when the ball got stuck and we a guy suddenly pleased one on one ... 32 minutes I thought we played really well and the ball movement was great. We shared it had 15 assists, which is great, but just needed to have three or four less turnovers.
"So yeah, when that stuff we can correct that stuff we can clean up and you know, we'll we'll go back to work in a couple of days, take them off and go back to work on wasn't a Monday we'll get back to work on Wednesday," he added.
Harris Jr. 0-for-4 from 3 in debut
Claudel Harris Jr. came in with some noticeable hype not just around the BC media. He averaged 17 points at Charleston Southern last season and came in as a highly-touted transfer. However, in his BC debut, he put up nine points and went 5-for-5 at the charity strike but was 0-for-4 from beyond the arch.
"You know, first game at Conte," Grant explained. "Everybody else been in Conte before, so they make themselves at home and I think for him first game in Conte, you know, pretty good atmosphere, so he probably has little jitters. You know, he's been really good for us. And so I'm glad he got that jittery game out of the way and hopefully, he can go back to his normal self."
Grant health update
Lastly, Grant provide a personal health update, as he has ditched the scooter, but is still walking around in a boot after suffering a leg injury 14 weeks ago.
"Yeah, that'd be out of the boot by now, but it's doing fine. You know, I'm not on the scooter, I'm not in any pain. And so it's going pretty good. Only problem is you know, after the game I couldn't go in and dance with the guys. (They) like to see me dance but I got an easy out. But it's doing good. I'm on week 14, and it's been a process, man. It's been a long process."
Women take down Holy Cross in opener
BC women's ball took on Holy Cross three hours prior to the men's tipoff against Fairfield, as the Eagles took down the Crusaders, 66-61.
The Eagles were down for the entirety of the game, but remained in striking distance and finally took a lead with three minutes to go in the ballgame. They then went back-and-forth but thanks to a few mismanaged possessions by Holy Cross late, BC was able to pull away.
Two ladies led the way for the Eagles -- Andrea Daley with 23 points, four assists, eight rebounds, and four steals; as well as Dontavia Waggoner, who had 18 points to go along with six boards and five steals. Teya Sidberry also added six points and as many boards.
"They all have something to prove," head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said after the win. "They really wanna be good. They're a pretty selfless group that just wants to be good together."