Among Boston College men’s basketball fans packed in Conte Forum Tuesday night, pockets of orange speckled the crowd, as Syracuse fans filed into the arena to see the Orange take on BC.
After 40 minutes, the Orange (13–11, 7–6 Atlantic Coast) had extended their win streak over BC (9–3, 14–8) to seven games with a 73–64 win.
The first half began slowly, as BC missed its first 10 field goal attempts, and layups weren’t falling. BC head coach Earl Grant said that the Eagles’ game plan was to score points in the paint, breaking down Syracuse’s zone defense.
“Just play inside out, you want to probe it, you want to distort it, you want to try to get the ball in the paint first before you attempt a lot of shots from the perimeter,” Grant said in his postgame press conference.
BC struggled to finish both in the paint and from beyond the arc and finished the half shooting 30.6 percent from field-goal range and 6.7 percent from three. Despite its offensive troubles, BC kept Syracuse within range, heading to the locker room trailing by 10.
“We needed to be better in the first half,” Grant said. “We let the game get away from us. … Probably was a little bit too steep of a hole for us being down 10 in the first half with a team that potent on offense.”
Freshman guard Jaeden Zackery broke out in the second half and scored 16 points in the final 20 minutes. He finished the game with 18 points and zero turnovers.
“That’s promising—another first-year guy in the program,” Grant said. “He had a big night.”
The Eagles hung close with the Orange, going on a 14–6 run near the end of the half. BC outscored Syracuse 40–39 in the second half.
“Sometimes it takes you a little while to find your rhythm, that’s okay” Grant said. “I think that the biggest difference was that we were a lot more confident and a lot more poised in the second half. We would have liked to have found that poise and that confidence in the middle of the first half and not in the second half.”
The win marked Syracuse’s fourth straight ACC victory.
“We need to be a little bit better, but our guys played really hard,” Grant said. “They competed. We had the most assists we’ve had all year. We held them to 38 percent I believe. There were a lot of good things taking place, but in a nutshell, we need to be a little bit better.”
Featured Image by Ben Schultz / Heights Staff