In their most impressive outing so far this season, the Boston College Eagles were able to overcome an early 14-point deficit, and beat the Richmond Eagles 68-61, securing their third win of the season. After falling behind 28-14 with 7:11 to play in the first half, the Eagles were able to pick up their intensity on both ends of the floor. On offense, the Eagles were led by senior big man Quinten Post and sophomore forward Prince Aligbe, who scored 17 and 15 points, respectively. On defense, Coach Grant’s team was able to hold a high-octane Richmond offense to a season-low 61 points. Despite a tough shooting night, Jaeden Zackery made his mark on the defensive end. With his stifling defense, Zackery was able to hold Richmond’s best perimeter threat, Jordan King, to just 10 points on the night, including a scoreless second half.
The first takeaway from this game was the inconsistent effort shown throughout this contest. After a tough road game to The Citadel, Eagles’ fans might have expected a bit more intensity going into this matchup with Richmond. The first 12 minutes of this game saw a Boston College team that looked completely unprepared. The Eagles showed no urgency on offense and gave up layup after layup on the defensive end. Then, after falling behind 28-14, the Eagles were somehow to flip a switch and went on a 13-0 tear, cutting the Richmond lead to a single point. After going into halftime down 34-30, the Eagles carried their momentum into the second half, going on a 16-6 run to take a 46-40 lead. With the uptick in intensity, BC fans saw a completely different team than the one that went down 14 points early. While the Eagles showed tremendous fight coming back from their first half deficit, fans might hope that it will not take another double-digit deficit to elicit this same effort.
Zackery's Stellar Defense (Again):
As mentioned in my previous article, Zackery epitomizes the saying “Gritty not Pretty”. Despite shooting just 2-10 from the field, Zackery led the team in +/- with a +13. So, even on a night where he just couldn't put the ball in the basket, Zackery left his mark all over this game. Zackery drew Jordan King as his defensive assignment, an incredibly shifty guard who came into this game averaging 22 points per game. And Grant could not have asked for a better defensive performance from his veteran guard. Zackery didn’t let King breathe once he crossed half court, hounding him all the way around the perimeter, and forcing Richmond’s other players to make plays instead. In his 38 minutes, King was limited to just 10 points on 3-11 shooting for the game. With another incredible defensive performance, Zackery continues to prove why he’s an All-ACC caliber defender.
Front Court Concerns (Again):
While Post was not able to match his incredible 31-point performance from opening night, he was able to stay out of foul trouble and stay on the court, playing 38 minutes in this game. In a physical matchup with fellow seven-footer Neal Quinn, Post had a hard-fought 17 points,10 rebounds, and 5 assists on 6-14 shooting. However, while Post had a fantastic game, it is not reasonable to expect 38 minutes from him on a consistent basis. Armani Mighty was only on the court for 15 seconds, and immediately gave up a shooting foul. Post returned to the game after this foul, and Mighty never returned from the bench. Then, in the second half, Grant gave Post a rest going into the under-12 media timeout. Rather than sending Mighty back on the floor, Grant trotted out a three-guard lineup with Aligbe and Devin McGlockton in the front court. Post was only on the bench for 1:58 before returning for the remainder of the game. In order for this Boston College team to be successful in the ACC, Grant needs to figure out how to manage lineups with Post off the floor.
Gritty Not Pretty:
The last, and most important, takeaway from this game is that this Boston College team fights. The Eagles shot just 37% from the field, doubled Richmond’s turnover total, and came into this game completely flat, but they still found a way. Just as they found a way to win last Friday at The Citadel, they were able to get the job done last night. Between Zackery hounding guards on the perimeter, and Post getting physical in the paint, the Eagles once again showed why their team mantra is “Gritty not Pretty”. The first 12 minutes of this game were certainly not pretty, and Grant’s team had to grit their way out. Once the Eagles were able to lock in defensively, they were able to dictate the flow of this game.
The Eagles return to Conte Forum this Saturday for a regional matchup against the Harvard Crimson, where they will look to start their season 4-0 for the first time since the 2007-2008 season. Due to the Ivy League’s scheduling, Harvard will be coming into Conte less than 24 hours after their away game against UMass. So, BC will likely be favored going into this matchup. But, as most fans of this team know, not much can be taken for granted with this team. The Eagles are far from perfect, but they are 3-0. And what's the best part about being 3-0? Having the chance to go 4-0.