Men's Basketball, Basketball, Winter, Sports

Eagles Fail to Match No. 7 Virginia’s Offense Despite Post’s Third Straight 20-Plus Point Game

Ahead of its Saturday contest, Boston College men’s basketball had already defeated one ranked team from Virginia this season, as it took down then-No. 21 Virginia Tech on Dec. 21, 2022. 

With a chance at win No. 2 against No. 7 Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., the Eagles (10–12, 4–7 Atlantic Coast) couldn’t capitalize on Quinten Post’s 14 straight first-half points and third straight game with 20-plus points, falling to the Cavaliers (16–3, 8–2) 76–57 in John Paul Jones Arena. 

Besides Post and Makai Ashton-Langford—who finished with 24 points and 12 points, respectively—no Eagle notched more than four points in the loss. As DeMarr Langford Jr. suffered a knee injury that forced him out of the entire second half along with Jaeden Zackery’s two-point performance, BC didn’t stand a chance against Virginia’s high-powered, fundamentally sound offense. The Cavaliers shot just over 50 percent from the field. 

“Yeah, they gotta step up,” BC head coach Earl Grant said of his team. “But I think you gotta give Virginia some credit. You know, [we] didn’t just go out there and didn’t want to score. Virginia took some stuff away.” 

Throughout the first nine minutes of the game, BC played its style of basketball—they fed the ball to Post and enforced gritty defense. From the 17:03 mark to the 14:14 mark, Post scored all 14 of BC’s points, hitting two 3-pointers in the process to put the Eagles up 16–13. 

“We just did a great job of getting the ball inside to him,” Grant said. “He made a couple of threes, but a lot of it was our plan to try to go inside. We thought we could really try to attack there. And so that was our plan, we executed.”

The execution only lasted so long, as BC scored six points in the final 11 minutes of the first half, and the Cavaliers closed the half on a 18–6 run. Post hit one layup during the 11-minute stretch, but Virginia’s defense as a whole started to focus on clamping Post. 

“They made an adjustment and really started to double him,” Grant said. “You know, we had to kick it out and move the ball. So they just made an adjustment.”

The Eagles committed nine first-half turnovers, playing sloppy with the ball at times, according to Grant. 

“The last thing you want to do is give them opportunities to get some easy baskets,” Grant said of UVA’s 14 points off BC turnovers. “I thought that was the difference in the game.”

With Langford Jr. sitting out the second half with a knee contusion and Ashton-Langford sitting on three fouls, Grant was forced to play freshman guard Chas Kelley III for 13 minutes. Kelley looked overwhelmed at times, turning the ball over and struggling to command the Eagles’ offense of Mason Madsen, TJ Bickerstaff, and Devin McGlockton, who scored nine combined points in 56 minutes. 

“We got a lot of young guys we’re playing,” Grant said. “When we come off the bench we got a lot of freshmen we’re playing, some sophomores, and I love them all, so we just gotta grow and develop. This is a really challenging place to play when you have young guys.”

The Cavaliers slowly pulled away as the second half went on. Virginia’s Jayden Gardner was a problem for BC all game, totaling 18 points and 10 in the second half—all but one shot came from inside the arc. The Cavaliers made BC pay from deep, as Virginia hit four 3-pointers in the second half to help grow its lead. 

“The biggest thing is they got loose for some threes,” Grant said. “We didn’t control the ball at the level we needed to control the ball, and they force you to help, they kicked it out, and made some threes.”

The Eagles managed to pull within nine points at the 12 minutes into the second half, but Kelley and Bickerstaff failed to convert on back-to-back shots. Virginia’s Armaan Franklin, who finished the game with 18 points, flushed in a dunk and then nailed a 3-pointer en route to a 9–0 Virginia run to put the Cavaliers ahead 61–43 with 8:37 left in the game.

“It’s like a slow drip,” Grant said. “Give them credit. They did a great job of grinding us.”

Virginia never ceased control, eventually taking a game-high 27-point lead at the 3:26 mark to seal a comfortable home victory.

“I thought we executed the plan for about 24 minutes of that game,” Grant said. “But that wasn’t enough to win a game like this in this arena.”

January 28, 2023