Sports, Winter, Basketball, Men's Basketball

BC Dominates Holy Cross in 95–64 Win

With 12:52 remaining in the second half of Boston College men’s basketball’s matchup against Holy Cross, Jaeden Zackery drove downhill before elevating in the paint, scooping the ball off the backboard, and contorting his body around a Crusaders’ defender to finish an acrobatic reverse layup.

Zackery’s bucket stretched BC’s lead to 59–41, and it summed up the Eagles’ second-half offensive explosion. BC got nearly anything and everything it wanted after halftime.

Despite seemingly sleepwalking through the first half, BC (7–3, 0–1 Atlantic Coast) blew out Holy Cross (2–8) 95–64 on Friday night in Conte Forum. The Eagles held a 33–31 halftime lead, but they put on an offensive clinic in the second half, scoring 62 points en route to a dominating win over the Crusaders. 

Zackery led BC with 18 points, five rebounds, and four assists, while five other Eagles finished with double-digit points. Declan Ryan paced the undermanned Crusaders, who were without seniors Bo Montgomery and Louth-M Coulibaly due to injury, with 14 points.

“We knew we weren’t playing our best,” Zackery said of the first half. “We weren’t playing good defense, and they brought the game close, so they gave it their all in the first half, and it was visible, and we didn’t. We knew going into the second half that we had to come out and play defense.”

BC got out to a 7–0 lead in a clunky first 4:49 of game action. The Eagles made just three of their first nine field goals but capitalized on some sloppy play from the Crusaders. Holy Cross turned the ball over on its first three possessions. 

Coming off a season-high 15-point performance against Central Connecticut, Mason Madsen had another big game, and he was locked in early. The senior finished with 17 points, and poured in 11 of them in the first half alone. 

“[I’m] happy for him,” BC head coach Earl Grant said of Madsen. “He’s played well back to back games, and [we] just need him to continue to build on it.”

Madsen connected on five of his six 3-point attempts. 

“It was good to see shots fall the past couple of games, and that’s what I expect for myself,” Madsen said.

The first half was far from pretty for BC. Despite holding a two-point lead at halftime, the Eagles shot 31.6 percent from the field and made just 4 of 17 3-pointers. The Crusaders silenced Quinten Post in the first half, and he finished with zero points before the first-half intermission. 

In the first half, the ball often found itself in the hands of Chas Kelley III and Prince Aligbe. The struggling duo chucked up 12 shots in the first half, converting on just one of them. 

“Some of it is we missed a lot of open shots,” Grant said. “We missed shots at the rim. We missed open threes. So there was about 18 to 20 points we left on the table in the first half.”

Holy Cross cut the BC lead to as little as two points, 30–28, after two free throws from Ryan with 1:19 left in the first half. Will Batchelder drained a triple in the waning seconds to send the Crusaders into the locker room trailing 33–31.

Holy Cross went on a 14–5 run in the final 4:28 of the opening half. 

“I thought Holy Cross did a good job junking it up,” Grant said of the first half.

A quick 13–3 explosion for BC coming out of the locker room, however, calmed the fears of onlookers in Conte Forum. The spurt helped the Eagles regain a double-digit advantage, 46–36, in just 2:57 of play, and it forced a Holy Cross timeout. 

“I think we just showed a little resilience,” Madsen said. “We took kind of their best punch in the first half and then kind of gave them ours in the second.”

BC continued to pour it on and didn’t look back. An emphatic alley-oop dunk from Devin McGlockton, courtesy of a Madsen lob, extended the Eagles’ lead to 64–43 with 11:49 left in the half.

Nearly everything was working for BC offensively, and Post started to assert his dominance. The graduate student scored all 12 of his points in the second half. He also tallied 10 rebounds, seven assists, and six steals in the game. 

Holy Cross’ leading scorer, Joe Octave, tweaked his Achilles during the game, according to head coach Dave Paulsen, and the Crusaders missed his contributions. The senior made one field goal and finished with four points. 

“Not acceptable,” Paulsen said of his team’s second-half effort. “We just have to find a way to summon a little more toughness even when you’re overmatched.”

Claudell Harris Jr., who returned to action after missing Tuesday’s game with an injury, drilled a 3-pointer to make the score 71–48 at the 10:00 mark of the second half. Harris Jr. totaled 10 points off the bench in just 18 minutes. 

Grant kept his starting group in the game until the under-four minute media timeout, with the Eagles ahead 86–57. BC then pushed the lead above 30 in the closing minutes of the game.  

Madsen canned another triple to lift BC to the 95-point mark. The performance matches the highest point total for the Eagles under Grant—BC fell in an overtime thriller at Notre Dame, 99–95, in the 2021–22 season. 

“Every single year I’ve been here, something bad has happened in the non conference,” Zackery said. “We know coming in that we can’t take [these teams] lightly.”

December 8, 2023