Sports, Winter, Basketball, Men's Basketball

Free Throw Shooting Plagues Eagles in 84–78 Overtime Loss to NC State

Heading into Boston College men’s basketball’s game against NC State on Saturday, the Eagles ranked second in the nation in free throw percentage, shooting 83.2 percent.

But free throw shooting arguably lost BC its game against the Wolfpack at Conte Forum, as the Eagles finished 14 of 26 from the line, good for 53.8 percent.

“We shoot them good,” BC head coach Earl Grant said. “Got guys who make them. We take them in practice. Got a bunch of confident guys and the ball just didn’t bounce today. What do you do about that? Can’t control that.”

Despite the poor free throw shooting, Quinten Post managed to will BC to overtime against the Wolfpack behind 15 second-half points. But his 3-pointer in the extra time found air instead of the basket, and the Eagles (5–3, 0–1 Atlantic Coast) couldn’t get over the hump in their 84–78 loss to NC State (5–2, 1–0) in their conference-opening game.

Down 79–76 after two DJ Horne free throws, Jaeden Zackery found Post at the top of the key for the 3-pointer. Post airballed, but the referees went to review to see if that ball was tipped by NC State on the shot.

The call was not overturned, and BC could never tie the game up.

“We ran the right play, he took the shot,” Grant said. “I guess he felt like that shot was open. He took it. But it didn’t come down to that. Many other things throughout the game. … we thought the guy tipped it.”

BC had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Zackery—who finished with a team-high 20 points—couldn’t finish his contested, driving layup. Post, meanwhile, collected the rebound, but his putback was also no good. NC State suddenly zipped down the court with three seconds left, which looked like the final play in BC’s last-second loss to Miami in the 2022 ACC quarterfinals, but Jayden Taylor missed a wide-open running floater and the game went to overtime.

While Post finished the game with 18 points, he started off slow in the first half, recording just three points—all from free throws. He also struggled defending the 6-foot-9, 275-pound DJ Burns Jr., who bullied his way into 17 total points. 

But Grant noted how BC’s gameplan on Burns worked, as he finished with just one assist.

Burns, however, appeared to make Post extremely uncomfortable offensively in the first half. It wasn’t until the second half where Post started converting on his shots in the paint and found ways to get around and shoot above Burns. 

“I thought Quinten Post made the adjustment and did a good job in the second half,” Grant said.

NC State had a 9–0 run early in the first period, which Horne capped off by notching a 3-pointer at the 12:49 mark to put BC down 13–7. Horne gave the Eagles trouble all game, as he finished with a game-high 21 points.

Claudell Harris Jr., who finished the first half with seven points, went to the locker room before halftime after hurting his ankle. He returned in the second half with the starting unit.

The Eagles’ offense appeared stagnant for the majority of the first half and played a lot of isolation basketball with limited movement. But BC entered halftime amid a 5–0 run, capped off after Devin McGlockton drained a top-of-the-key 3-pointer to make it a 36–33 NC State lead.

In the second half, Harris picked up where he left off in the first—with no ankle trouble in sight. He rose up for an emphatic fastbreak dunk to cap off a 6–0 BC run to cut the Wolfpack’s lead down to 44–42 with 14:31 remaining in the game.

Grant kept a tight rotation all game, getting only 37 minutes from his bench. Donald Hand Jr. led the unit with 18 minutes for six points. His catch-and-shoot 3-pointer at the 9:03 mark put BC down just 52–51.

Hand, however, went down with an injury at the end of regulation and was helped off the court.

“I don’t,” Grant said regarding updates on Hand’s status. “It happened quick. … But I think it’s a good report.”

Six straight Post points late in regulation tied the game at 66 apiece, and Zackery finished a layup in which it appeared he froze mid-air to then tie the game at 68 with 1:02 remaining. But neither squad scored in the remainder of regulation, and the Wolfpack prevailed in the overtime match.

“We got to learn from it,” Grant said. “Try to grow from it and then move on to the next game. But I thought our effort and toughness was really good.”

December 2, 2023