Boston College men’s basketball did what it was expected to in its season opener against Dartmouth Tuesday night. Though the Eagles are picked to finish last in the ACC, Dartmouth is projected to finish sixth in the Ivy League, which is a far cry from the Power Six level of the ACC.
In its first game in front of fans in nearly two years, BC took care of the Big Green 73–57 to open its season with a win.
“I gave the guys a B+,” BC head coach Earl Grant said in his postgame press conference. “I thought we played really well for 32 minutes and left eight minutes on the table.”
Grant cited defense and the 12 turnovers his team committed as things that may need some improvement if BC wants to become a full 40-minute team.
For BC, it was a tale of two halves. In the first, the team shot 15-of-26 from the field including 6-of-11 from three, leading to a 42–19 lead going into the break. The Eagles out-rebounded Dartmouth twofold—posting 22 rebounds to the Big Green’s 11—and held Dartmouth to 6-of-27 shooting in the first half.
The Eagles kept up defensive pressure through the first 20 minutes, shutting down passing lanes and contesting 3-point shots, which Grant and his players credited to the scout team.
In the second half, Dartmouth outscored BC 38–31 and shot a much-improved 15-of-29 from the field. And despite being vastly undersized compared to the Eagles, the Big Green also out-rebounded BC 20–17.
Despite an impressive second half from Dartmouth, the Eagles led comfortably throughout the game. BC finished the game shooting 49.5 percent from the field, including 7-of-18 from three. Perhaps most impressively though, the team held Dartmouth, a historically strong 3-point shooting team, to 6-of-29 from behind the arc.
Sophomore guard DeMarr Langford Jr. led all scorers with 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting, getting to the rim and finishing through contact. Much like coach Grant, however, Langford Jr. was more interested in talking about the other side of the ball.
“I love playing defense,” Langford Jr. said. “I want to guard the best player, the leading scorer, whatever. … Playing good defense helps spark the offense and just makes us click as a team.”
A 24-second shot clock violation in the first half and a 10-second violation in the second both helped to start 8–0 runs for the Eagles, a prime example of turning defense into offense.
Langford Jr.’s older half-brother Makai Ashton-Langford contributed 10 points of his own for the Eagles on a perfect 2-of-2 from 3-point range and 4-for-4 at the stripe. Seven-footer Quinten Post added 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting and grabbed six boards in his 23 minutes of play.
Kanye Jones added 22 meaningful minutes in the win, putting up 12 points while shooting 3-of-7 from the field and 2-of-4 from 3-point range in his collegiate debut. Jones, who had previously committed to the College of Charleston, where Grant formerly coached, flipped his commitment to join the Eagles.
After the game, Grant celebrated with the team, showing off his “old-school” dance moves in the locker room, much like he did in his halftime appearance when BC football took on Virginia Tech last weekend.
“Winning was fun, and it’s hard to win,” Grant said. “I think it’s very important to celebrate every victory.”
It’s near impossible to draw conclusions after the first game of the season. Last year under Jim Christian, the Eagles opened their season with a promising close loss to reigning national champion Villanova, but the Eagles went on to finish the season 4–16, including 2–11 in the ACC.
Featured Image by Nicole Vagra / Heights Staff