A sold-out Conte Forum has been a rare occurrence for Boston College men’s basketball in recent years. Though they ultimately fell 72–61 to No. 7 Duke, the Eagles fed off the crowd’s energy and battled for 40 minutes on Saturday.
BC (9–14, 4–9 Atlantic Coast) has lost 16 of its last 17 matchups with Duke (21–4, 11–3). The last BC win came in 2017 inside a sold out Conte Forum, after which BC fans stormed the court. The game marked Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final game in Chestnut Hill before his retirement at the end of this season.
Lack of Consistency from Three
BC shot just 1-of-12 from 3-point range on Saturday. This wasn’t the first time the Eagles made just one 3-pointer in a game this season, as BC went 1-of-16 from behind the arc against North Carolina on Jan. 26. Long-distance shooting has been a struggle all year for BC, which ranks 328th in the country in 3-point shooting following its matchup with Duke.
Graduate transfer Brevin Galloway is among the Eagles who have struggled to find their shots this season. Galloway is shooting just 23.1 percent from three, though he ranks first for BC in 3-pointers attempted with 104 on the year. Galloway went 0-of-3 from three and 3-of-8 from the field against Duke.
Makai Ashton-Langford made the Eagles’ lone 3-pointer. He finished the night with 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
Without 7-footer Quinten Post, and with T.J. Bickerstaff playing limited minutes due to a strained calf, BC was at a size disadvantage for much of the game. The four-guard lineup consisted of Galloway, Ashton-Langford, DeMarr Langford Jr., and freshman Jaeden Zackery for much of the game.
The small-ball lineup enabled the Eagles to get out in transition and attack from the perimeter. Zackery was particularly effective at getting into the paint and finding an open cutter. The freshman finished with six points, five assists, and five steals.
Langford Jr. added two steals to go along with 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Langford Jr. was aggressive in getting to the basket, particularly in the second half, where he erupted on a 6–0 run to cut the Blue Devils’ lead to six points.
Defensively, Langford Jr. was tasked with guarding a consensus top-five pick of this year’s NBA Draft in Paolo Banchero. Banchero, who is listed as 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, finished with 16 points, 14 rebounds, and three assists on 7-of-14 shooting.
Banchero’s totals in the three major categories were all team highs, and his offense seemed to come effortlessly. Blanchero, who is projected as a top draft pick, joins a long lineage of Duke one-and-dones including Jabari Parker, Zion Williamson, and Jayson Tatum, who was in attendance for Saturday’s game.
Junior guard Wendell Moore Jr. was another standout for the Blue Devils, finishing with 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range. In Thursday’s matchup against Clemson, Moore took a scary foul going up for a dunk, which was ultimately ruled a flagrant two.
After Saturday’s game, Krzyzewski acknowledged that BC fans always get loud when Duke comes to town, but he said players such as Moore and Banchero love a full-capacity crowd, whether it be home or away.
Featured Image by Steve Mooney / Heights Editor