Sports, Winter, Basketball, Men's Basketball

Eagles Unable to Recover From Early Deficit, Fall to Colorado State in First Round of National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Classic

After being down by as many as 14 points in the first half, Boston College men’s basketball had clawed its way back, managing to cut Colorado State’s lead to four points with nine minutes left in the second half off two Jaeden Zackery free throws. 

But two quick BC turnovers gave the Rams five quick points, and the Eagles never managed to recover in a game that featured a similar pattern throughout—BC inching its way back, but Colorado State easily pulling away. 

“We responded,” BC head coach Earl Grant said. “But we didn’t match that intensity the first four or five minutes.” 

Grant was right, as the Rams’ 22–12 first-half lead six minutes into the game was too big for BC to fully recover from. While center Quinten Post led the Eagles (4–1) with 22 points, he turned the ball over six times in their 86–74 loss to Colorado State (5–0) in the first round of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, Mo., on Wednesday. 

BC committed 16 total turnovers as a team in the loss—its first of the season. 

Colorado State had wide-open looks all game, some near the basket and from behind the arc. The Rams shot 55.6 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from 3-point land, with BC continually breaking down defensively.  

“They challenged us on defense,” Grant said. “You know, our defense wasn’t at the level it needed to be. We had a few breakdowns, gave them some stuff at the rim.”

Post, however, said he didn’t think BC’s defensive struggles were just from breakdowns. 

“I think it might have been a little bit of an effort thing today,” Post said. “I don’t think we played hard enough. I don’t think we were in sync.”

BC’s lack of bench production hurt the Eagles in the first half. When Grant subbed Zackery and Devin McGlockton out, the Rams went on a 7–0 run to go ahead 29–16. BC’s lineup of Post, Mason Madsen, Chas Kelley III, Prince Aligbe, and Claudell Harris Jr. couldn’t put any offense together. 

The Eagles finished the game with just nine bench points, five coming in the last minutes once the game was already out of reach. 

“They just got to stay ready,” Grant said. “Be[ing] ready to play is really challenging when you’re a talented guy, and you wanna play more, to really embrace and accept the role that you’re in at that present moment. But I think the really good teams, they can do that.”

Harris, however, continued where he left off Saturday, leading BC with 11 first-half points that included two 3-pointers. He displayed a confidence and assertiveness that hadn’t been unleashed in the Eagles’ first three games of the season. 

Once Zackery and McGlockton were subbed back in at the 9:47 mark of the first half, BC stayed in contention for the rest of the half and slowly clawed its way back. The Eagles put together a 6–0 run off a Harris and-1 fastbreak score, a Zackery layup, and an Aligbe pull-up jumper to cut their deficit to 34–26. 

Zackery finished the game with 11 points on 2-of-6 shooting, and McGlockton recorded nine points on 4-of-4 shooting. 

A last-second Colorado State putback layup put BC down 47–38 at halftime. 

Post, who only scored six points in the first half, started to find his spots more in the second, using his frame to finish around the rim while also connecting on two 3-pointers. But the Rams often double-teamed the 7-footer on the block, causing Post to attempt cross-court passes that Colorado State easily stole. 

“I thought the guy that was coming to the ball needed to clap his hands, be a little more urgent,” Grant said of helping Post when he was doubled. “So we were going for the home run instead of the single, and we needed to try to get the single.”

Post’s turnover at the 7:46 mark of the second half gave the Rams a wide-open, fastbreak 3-pointer. BC struggled to defend the fastbreak all game, allowing 13 fastbreak points to Colorado State. 

Isaiah Stevens, who torched BC with 18 points, nailed a turnaround jumper less than a minute later to put Colorado State up 72–63 with 6:55 left in the game—a lead that the Eagles would not cut into for the rest of the way in their 86–74 loss. 

“We’re not immortal,” Post said. “We’ve fought some pretty tough battles against some pretty decent teams and we came on top. And this is another way it can happen.”

November 23, 2023