Sports, Winter, Basketball, Men's Basketball

Chas Kelley’s Career Night Pushes Eagles Past Virginia Tech

Back on Dec. 21, reserve Devin McGlockton broke out by scoring 18 points to power Boston College men’s basketball over then-No. 21 Virginia Tech for the Eagles’ first ACC win of the season. McGlockton’s performance was dominant—yet unexpected—so much so that Virginia Tech’s head coach Mike Young compared McGlockton to NBA legend Bill Russell after the game.

On Wednesday night in Blacksburg,Va., it was Chas Kelley III’s turn to break out against the Hokies. Kelley could have been compared to Stephen Curry after the game, as he notched a career-high four 3-pointers while shooting 5 of 8 from the field in 31 minutes.

Kelley had entered Wednesday’s game averaging just 2.4 points and 13.5 minutes per game.

Starting point guard Jaeden Zackery going down with a right leg injury in the first half certainly helped Kelley’s breakout performance, as it forced Kelley to step up. He did just that and scored a career-high 17 points to lead the Eagles (12–13, 6–8 Atlantic Coast) over Virginia Tech (14–10, 4–9) by a final score of 82–76 for the season sweep of the Hokies. 

“‘Stay ready for the moment,’ that’s what I’ve been telling myself this season, and, I mean, today it showed off,” Kelley, who’s previous career high was 10 points, said. 

BC registered a season-high 12 3-pointers in the win—its fifth straight win over the Hokies.

Quinten Post logged a 24-point, 10-rebound double-double. His presence opened up the floor for BC’s 3-point shooters, who shot 50 percent from deep. Post himself was perfect from behind the arc, shooting 3 for 3.

“I think the whole team, we kind of came in with a kind of passion, you know, against these guys,” Post said. “I saw the spread—13.5, their way. So I don’t know, that kind of sat wrong with me. … We were just fired up.”

Though Virginia Tech had established an 11–4 lead by the first half’s 16:36 mark, 3-pointers from Post and McGlockton brought BC right back into the game. 

The Hokies’ aggressive defense granted Post a number of chances at the free throw line, but he couldn’t capitalize—going 1 of 4 from the line in the first 12:33. 

But after a 15–2 run, led by back-to-back Kelley 3-pointers, BC found itself ahead 32–22 at the 4:22 mark. 

“I think it all started on the defensive end,” Post said. “We were just stopping them, and offensively, we were just making shots, which was big.”

Having finished the half on a 22–7 run, BC’s 7-of-15 first-half 3-point shooting had drained the life out of Cassell Coliseum, and the Eagles’ were four 3-pointers away from matching their season high.

Post led the way for BC in the first half, scoring 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting.

“We were getting the ball inside, I think,” Post said. “That’s how we win games. Coach always preaches paint ball, getting the ball inside.” 

But the absence of Zackery—who was subbed out 12:57 into the first half and was soon ruled out for the remainder of the contest —loomed large as the second half began. 

Kelley, however, continued to deliver, playing as the team’s lead point guard. The freshman opened up the second-half scoring by knocking down his third 3-pointer of the game. 

BC held Sean Pedulla—whose 22 points led the Hokies over then-No. 6 Virginia on Feb. 4—scoreless until the second half’s 13:33 mark. 

Virginia Tech would trim the Eagles’ lead down to single digits over the ensuing minutes, but a no-hesitation 3-pointer from Prince Aligbe pushed BC’s lead to a game-high 15 points. 

As the shot clock wound down with under five minutes to play, Kelley blew up another Hokie comeback attempt, leaving his mark on the game defensively by spiking away a Pedulla layup attempt. 

Virginia Tech put up a late surge, however, cutting the Eagles’ lead down to four points with 18 seconds to play. With Post fouled out, BC appeared on the verge of collapse. 

But Kelley, once again, came through for the Eagles—this time in the clutch—knocking down a pair of free throws to secure the victory. 

“I always try to tell myself, like ‘Hey, it’s cool—it’s just two free throws,’” Kelley said. “‘You’re at the line by yourself, let’s just knock these two down and let’s go home and win the game.’”

Despite Virginia Tech entering the matchup 138 spots ahead of BC in the NCAA’s NET rankings, the win marked just another stepping stone in the Eagles’ season, according to BC head coach Earl Grant. 

“In this league, it’s a fight on every corner, so it don’t really matter—all the games are the same,” Grant said. “So you got to focus on your preparation and then try to go play the best game you can play.”

February 8, 2023