Sports, Winter, Basketball, Men's Basketball

Eagles Defeat Fairfield 89–70 in Season Opener Behind Post’s 31 Points

One season ago, Quinten Post watched Boston College men’s basketball narrowly defeat Cornell from the bench in the Eagles’ 2022–23 season opener. Post missed BC’s first 13 games with a foot injury.  

But the 7-footer was only on that bench for 11 minutes during the Eagles’ (1–0) season-opening win over Fairfield (0–1) on Monday in Conte Forum. Post tallied a career-high 31 points along with 11 rebounds in the 89–70 victory. The win marked the Eagles’ most points in a season opener since 2009 against Dartmouth. 

“Obviously I’m just proud of him,” BC head coach Earl Grant said. “I’m happy for him. I’m thankful that he’s here. … It’s a huge thing for us and for this program and for BC nation.”

Monday also marked the eighth time Post has scored 20 points or more in a game.  

The Preseason All-ACC Second Team member didn’t do it alone. Grant wasn’t kidding when he said BC has depth this year. Despite returning four out of his five starters, the third-year head coach couldn’t help but give freshman Elijah Strong and Fred Payne some minutes on the floor. 

“Some of it was the lead,” Grant said. “Some of it, [I] wanted to play the younger guys because they bring so much energy everyday in practice, and they compete against that first team, and sometimes they beat that first team.” 

Ten different Eagles scored, and Grant deployed 11 different players onto the court throughout the game. 

BC’s new flow—and fast-paced offense—certainly ran through Post all game, though. His back-to-back 3-pointers with nine minutes left in the affair capped off his career-high night. The Eagles shot 27 3-pointers, and Post finished 5 for 6 from deep. 

“I always kind of start my personal game trying to establish myself inside,” Post said. “And then in the second half … I saw openings in the corner and a few other places.” 

Post wasted no time to get to his sweet spots. Displaying his increased agility from the weight he lost in the offseason, the 7-footer scored five of BC’s first seven points of the game, tipping in his own miss and then converting an and-1 to put BC ahead 7–3. 

His back-to-the-basket sets also remained steady, as he used his frame to easily convert on hook shots around the rim. 

But Jaeden Zackery, who Grant mentioned made the most impressive leap over the offseason, proved he’s more than capable of being Robin to Post’s Batman. The junior guard bullied his way into a layup to cap off a 14–2 BC run to put the Eagles ahead 23–10 with 8:25 remaining in the first half. 

Zackery finished with 10 points and a team-leading four assists. 

“We both know that we’re leaders of this team,” Post said. “We’ve been here the longest. Together, we kind of have to set the tone. I think we did that in the second half, especially defensively. … And then on the offensive side, I think we’re hard to stop.”

Two Mason Madsen 3-pointers and a Donald Hand Jr. 3-pointer put BC ahead 42–24 for its largest first-half lead. Hand’s bucket marked his first since BC’s season opener a year ago, as the sophomore missed the rest of the season with a torn ACL.  

Devin McGlockton, Claudell Harris Jr., Prince Aligbe, Chas Kelley III, and Armani Mighty also scored in the first half. 

Fairfield, however, never fully evaporated, as a flurry of BC fouls put the Stags within reach. An 8–2 run to close the half brought Fairfield within 46–34 heading into halftime. 

But the Eagles responded out of halftime behind even bigger efforts from Post and Zackery, who combined to notch 11 of BC’s first 13 points to put the Eagles’ ahead 59–40 at the 13:14 mark in the second half—a double-digit lead BC didn’t surrender for the rest of the game. 

“Guys played together, made some shots,” Grant said of his squad, which shot 41 percent from 3-point range. “But it was just getting stops. And being smart on offense, taking care of the ball, and getting the right shot.” 

Harris, playing in his first game as an Eagle since transferring from Charleston Southern, finished with nine points on 2-of-8 shooting, appearing shaky with the ball in his hands at times and often deferring to Zackery to run the offense. 

“First game at Conte, everybody else been in Conte before … so he probably has a little jitters,” Grant said of Harris. “He’s been really good for us, and so I’m glad he got that jittery game out of the way, and hopefully he can go back to his normal self.” 

Despite the win and career night, Post said he still thinks BC can play better. Post acknowledged that Monday was a step in the right direction, though, and that there’s real excitement for the program. 

“I think there’s a certain hype around the program this year,” Post said. “I think people know and people expect that this is going to be a breakout year, and that’s how the team feels. That’s how I feel. That’s how coach feels.”

November 7, 2023