There was no trouble in paradise for Boston College men’s basketball Friday, defeating George Mason in the quarterfinals of the 2022 Paradise Jam tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Eagles (3–1) dominated George Mason (2–2) for a 71–56 victory in the programs’ first-ever matchup on Friday night.
Following a disappointing loss to Maine, BC was looking to bounce back, according to head coach Earl Grant.
“The biggest message to the guys was how important it was to just know that we’ve got enough,” Grant said. “In the locker room I know that we have been faced with a lot of disappointment with guys being out, … but we just talked about, ‘Hey, use what we got.’”
The Eagles wasted no time taking a commanding lead over the Patriots. A Devin McGlockton steal the Eagles pushed the ball down court, and a CJ Penha 3-pointer put the Eagles up 11–2 less than four minutes into the game.
George Mason’s eight turnovers were a major problem in the first half, allowing the Eagles to capitalize and extend their lead.
The Eagles were up 10 when Jaeden Zackery fought through contact, scoring an and-one layup to put the Eagles up 27–15. The Eagles continued their dominant run and extended their lead to 21 on 15 straight points.
Zackery finished seven points and five rebounds.
The half ended with a buzzer-beater tip-in from Mason Madsen, and the Eagles entered the locker room up 47–21. BC held the Patriots to just eight points in the final 12:28 of the half, led by two McGlockton blocks and one steal.
“We played a lot of guys,” Grant said. “Everybody was available, so we were fresh. We were energetic, that was number one. Number two, we didn’t change anything defensively—we just executed better. … It was good to see that growth from the guys just in three or four days.”
Makai Ashton-Langford led the Eagles’ overwhelming first-half performance with 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Penha had nine points and five rebounds.
“We were just trying to execute Coach’s game plan,” Ashton-Langford said. “We were taking a lot of quick shots against Maine, … so we had to switch up our flow, … get the ball in and then kick it out, and then try to redrive or just execute coach’s game plan.”
The Patriots looked like a brand new team in the second half, going on a 10–4 run in the first four minutes. George Mason continued to chip away at the lead, forcing the Eagles to take a timeout up 56–38.
“Once they start hitting threes your mind starts flowing [and] the game starts getting faster” Ashton-Langford said. “So it’s just trying to listen to Coach and stay calm. We’ve been in positions like this a bunch of times, so it’s just about finishing the game off.”
George Mason refused to let up and cut the Eagles’ lead to just 14 points with 7:24 to go in the game. But BC responded, and a lob from DeMarr Langford Jr. to McGlockton solidified the win for the Eagles.
McGlockton finished the game with eight points, nine rebounds, and two blocks.
A 17-point performance from Ashton-Langford punched the Eagles’ ticket to the championship bracket on Sunday against Tarleton State despite a lackluster, 24-point second-half performance from BC.