In Boston College men’s basketball’s matchup against Syracuse on Saturday, the Eagles let up a 10–0 run about five minutes into the second half. BC faced a similar situation on Jan. 31 against No. 20 Clemson—the Tigers went on a 10–0 run, but BC recovered and went on to defeat Clemson 62–54.
BC (11–13, 5–8 Atlantic Coast) also managed to claw back against the Orange (14–10, 7–6) on Saturday, taking a 59–56 lead with 8:33 left to play. But unlike its performance against Clemson, the Eagles couldn’t finish when it mattered most, as a second 10–0 Syracuse run proved too much to handle. Amid a sold-out Conte Forum, BC failed to convert down the stretch and dropped a 77–68 loss.
Justin Taylor’s third 3-pointer of the night capped off the Orange’s first run and extended Syracuse’s lead to 49–41. But fresh out of a BC timeout, Chas Kelley III—who subbed in for Jaeden Zackery due to foul trouble—and Makai Ashton-Langford nailed back-to-back shots at the 8:33 mark of the second half to gain a three-point advantage.
“I think we responded well,” BC head coach Earl Grant said of Syracuse’s first run.
Syracuse, however, took back the lead amid the second 10–0 run. And this time, the Eagles had no answer.
“The second one, we turned it over, kind of lost our poise a little bit, they were deflecting some of our passes with their length,” Grant said. “And then they just made some execution plays at the end of the clock, where we weren’t sound enough.”
The Eagles turned the ball over three times during Syracuse’s second 10–0 run that materialized when Quinten Post—BC’s leading scorer with 18 points—was subbed out alongside Kelley for Zackery and Devin McGlockton. Kelley was productive all game, finishing with five points in 11 minutes.
“I blame myself a little bit,” Grant said. “We had a rhythm, I had a cluster of subbing, when I look back on it and watch the film I’ll probably question should I have stayed with that group or not, but I thought those guys were fatigued.”
The Orange used the zone against BC’s soft passes to fuel its run, and BC couldn’t recover after Syracuse took a 66–59 lead with 4:37 left to play.
The Eagles shot 31.4 percent from deep, and took a season-high 35 3-pointers, making 11 of them, tied for their season high. Five different Eagles drained at least one shot from beyond the arc, but Grant said the team may have overdone it.
“I thought we took a few too many,” Grant said. “You gotta be disciplined, you gotta be mature. And we were, for most of the game.”
Zackery’s fourth personal foul came after a late whistle, causing Conte Forum to erupt and Grant to rush over to the referee. Zackery landed near Syracuse’s Joseph Girard III—who shoots 83.1 percent from the charity stripe and finished with 18 points Saturday—and Girard nailed both free throws to put the Orange up 72–64 with just over 90 seconds remaining.
The Eagles notched 11 personal fouls in the second half. Syracuse had two.
“Maybe there was a call or two, maybe three,” Grant said of potential questionable calls on BC.
Center Jesse Edwards was a problem all night for the Eagles. He finished with a team-high 27 points on 12-of-15 shooting. No matter what BC threw at him—7-foot Post or a zone defense—Edwards could not be limited.
“We wanted to make sure he didn’t get any deep catches, which we did a good job of that,” Grant said. “His talent just showed up.”
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim offered a similar take.
“He made two or three shots that I’ve never seen him make in practice or games,” Boeheim said.
With DeMarr Langford Jr. out for a second straight game, BC leaned on starting guards Zackery and Ashton-Langford—who combined for 25 points Saturday—and reserve guard Kelley. McGlockton has started the past two games for Langford, switching freshman Prince Aligbe into the starting small forward spot for the first time all season.
“It’s been a heck of a year in terms of adjusting,” Grant said. “I thought other guys really stepped up.”
Zackery and Aligbe connected on two highlight-reel plays. The first featured Aligbe slamming down a dunk on a fast-break pass from Zackery, but the main course was served when Zackery found Aligbe once again for an alley-oop dunk to tie the game 26–26 in which Aligbe looked as if he froze in midair.
Moving forward from the loss, BC will look to focus on growth, according to Grant.
“We want growth and prosperity,” Grant said. “You just got to prepare to the best of your ability and go out and play to your standards.”