For the first time since 1986, Boston College men’s basketball fell to New Hampshire—the Eagles’ first-ever loss against the Wildcats in Chestnut Hill.
Tuesday’s game ended in nail-biting fashion, as BC lost to New Hampshire in overtime 74–71. BC (5–5, 0–1 Atlantic Coast) allowed eight consecutive points in the extra period to bury itself and give the Wildcats (3–5, 0–0 America East) the win.
“We just gave them too much confidence, and they felt like they could win the game,” BC head coach Earl Grant said.
Without leading scorer Makai Ashton-Langford, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury that he suffered against Duke on Dec. 3, the Eagles were forced to search for other scoring options. BC’s initial approach was to lean on returning starters Jaeden Zackery and DeMarr Langford Jr., but the pair struggled to execute on scoring opportunities, collectively shooting 2-of-14 from the field in the first half.
“I don’t know,” Grant said when asked why Zackery and Langford struggled offensively. “They had a lot of shots at the rim that didn’t go in and had some good looks from the perimeter, but we just got to continue to try to find ways to put them in position to be successful.”
Clarence Daniels led the charge for the Wildcats, recording 34 points and 14 rebounds. Daniels showed off his shooting touch from the outside while powering his way to the rim all game. He overwhelmed anyone that BC sent his way, namely CJ Penha Jr. and Langford Jr., who guarded Daniels for the majority of the game.
“[Daniels] did a lot of great things,” Grant said. “He just got hot. He had 20 of the 34 points in the first half, and [we] had a hard time guarding him.”
With the score knotted at 35, New Hampshire came out of halftime and raced out to a 47–41 lead. Daniels continued his dominance during this stretch, scoring five straight points, and BC played with low energy. The Wildcats extended their lead to nine with 11:21 remaining in the second half before BC started to push back.
“We gave up too many offensive rebounds [in this game],” Grant said. “We gave them a lot of extra possessions.”
The Eagles cut the deficit to 55–53 with two Langford Jr. free throws. BC’s comeback effort, however, was thwarted when Langford Jr. fouled out with 6:15 left in the game. But the Wildcats became inefficient on the offensive end in the game’s final 10 minutes—they scored one point in the span of seven minutes—until a Ridvan Tutic free throw broke the drought at the 3:14 mark.
Langford Jr. netted 10 points in his 28 minutes of action.
BC finally got over the hump when Zackery—who had been 1-of-12 from the field on the night up to that point—drained an open 3-pointer off a T.J. Bickerstaff offensive rebound at the 3:45 mark. The teams traded buckets in the closing minutes, with the most crucial baskets coming from Devin McGlockton. The redshirt freshman scored four points in 46 seconds to put BC ahead 62–61.
Following two Mason Madsen free throws, BC’s lead grew to three. But Daniels nailed a 3-pointer with a hand in his face to tie the game at 64 with 1.3 seconds remaining. A half-court heave from Zackery didn’t fall, and the game headed to overtime.
“We tried to get a timeout before overtime to foul up three,” Grant said. “We didn’t get the timeout, and the guy made the three.”
BC quickly jumped out to a 71–66 lead in overtime, but four straight points from Nick Johnson—who finished the game with 20 points—helped the Wildcats tie it up. Nazim Derry hit a clutch 3-pointer with 23 seconds left to extend New Hampshire’s run. Attempts from Madsen and Zackery from behind the arc both fell short, and the Wildcats eked out the victory.
Zackery led the Eagles with 14 points on 20 percent shooting from the field. He added six rebounds.
“It was humbling, very disappointing that we lost the game,” Grant said. “But you got to give them a lot of credit. There were a lot of tough shots made.”