Men's Basketball, Basketball, Winter, Sports

Notebook: 3-Point Shooting, Jones Strong In Opener

When Boston College men’s basketball last stepped on the court for a game, the Eagles were finishing up a 4–16 season with little to celebrate about. 

On Tuesday night, the Eagles hosted Dartmouth for their season opener, where they looked like a completely different team, in both the literal and figurative sense. The Eagles picked up three transfers, four incoming freshmen, and a new coach in the offseason. New-look BC (1–0) took down Dartmouth (0–1) in BC’s first home game with fans since early 2020. Here are five takeaways from the Eagles’ 73–57 win over Dartmouth:

When it Rains it Pours

Generating offense had been a struggle for the Eagles in the past, but they shot lights out on Tuesday night. The team went 25-of-51 from the field, shooting 49 percent compared to Dartmouth’s 38 percent. A large part of that success was due to the Eagles’ first-half surge, where they recorded 42 points and held Dartmouth to only 19. 

Arguably the most impressive scorer of the night was DeMarr Langford Jr., who went 8-for-10, notching 16 points on his powerful drives to the net. Unsurprisingly, Langford Jr. worked well with his half-brother, Makai Ashton-Langford, as the two dominated the first half of the game. Ashton-Langford did not miss a shot the entire game, going 2-for-2 on field goals, 2-for-2 from the 3-point line, and 4-for-4 from the foul line. 

The Eagles also shot 39 percent from the 3-point line, whereas Dartmouth only made six triples on 29 attempts. Although the Eagles cannot be expected to go 49 percent from the field every game, particularly in a packed ACC, they generated points from well-executed scoring chances.

Just Getting Started

Kanye Jones played his first college basketball game on Tuesday. During the fall of 2020, Jones committed to the College of Charleston to play under Earl Grant, but he signed with BC once Grant signed. As a senior at Windermere High School, Jones averaged 21 points per game and was a tremendous defender. 

Jones entered the game early in the first half for the Eagles, and after getting his pocket picked on his first possession, he remained composed and ran a strong offense. Working with fellow guard Jaeden Zackery, the two pressured Dartmouth on the inbound and generated transition offense. During his 22 minutes of play, Jones showed off his athleticism, working well with teammates Quinten Post and Ashton-Langford to create give-and-goes and to isolate the big man. Jones recorded 12 points in his first game in maroon and gold, going 3-for-7 in field goals and grabbing five rebounds. 

In the Post 

One point of struggle last season for the Eagles was solidifying a center. Post, who transferred from Mississippi State, filled that role and came up with big-time plays on Tuesday. Early in the second half, Dartmouth started to go on a run, and the Eagles could not get any of their shots to fall. Post made a strong move to the middle, however, maneuvering his 7-foot body and throwing down a dunk. Post’s dunk was just one of his many shots that got the Eagle bench to its feet. He went 5-for-6 from the field, recorded six rebounds, and earned a career-high 14 points on Tuesday. 

Post also has a habit of drawing fouls, putting the Dartmouth big men in trouble. Although he shot 50 percent from the foul line, he got to the line four times and slowed down the momentum-building Dartmouth offense. 

New Coach on the Block 

After going 4-of-16 last year during their season, the Eagles were in need of a change. During the offseason, BC hired Grant away from the College of Charleston. Grant was a vocal presence on the court, motioning to the players during time outs and walking down the bench to speak with individuals. What stood out most from Grant’s first night were his defensive decisions, as he called his players to press the Dartmouth offense after most made shots. The full-court press frazzled the Dartmouth offense, as the Big Green struggled to move the ball past half court, throwing lob passes that athletic BC players often intercepted.

Trust in the Transfer

Transfer T.J. Bickerstaff started the game for the Eagles on Tuesday night. A transfer from Drexel, the 6-foot-9 forward averaged 10.2 points per game for the Dragons. Despite being a junior academically, Bickerstaff has three years of eligibility left. He had a strong opening night, with eight points, five rebounds, and one assist. After the loss of Steffon Mitchell last year, the Eagles are in need of a strong power forward to fill that gap.

Featured Image by Nicole Vagra / Heights Staff

November 10, 2021