Sports, Winter, Basketball, Men's Basketball

Behind Missed Free Throws, Eagles Fall to Wake Forest 84–78

In each of the first two seasons of head coach Earl Grant’s tenure, Boston College men’s basketball has suffered a blowout January loss to Wake Forest—losing by a combined 52 points in both games

The 2023–24 campaign has been a different season thus far, however, as the Eagles finished their non-conference slate with a 9–2 record—their best since the 2005–06 season. But while BC (9–4, 0–2 Atlantic Coast) was far more prepared for the Demon Deacons (10–3, 2–0) this January, the Eagles didn’t have enough juice to get over the hump—dropping a nailbiter to Wake Forest, 84–78. 

“This is the ACC—guys will make shots,” Grant said after the game. “So you got to take care of the ball and be sharp executing-wise. You got to make sure you don’t give them open looks. So I thought we played a good game. Our details weren’t quite all the way where it needed to be.”

In the final 12 seconds of the game, senior Andrew Carr—whom BC had thus far held scoreless—delivered the dagger three for Wake Forest. 

“That last shot [Carr] hit—I mean, we’ll live with that one,” Devin McGlockton said.

Though BC hadn’t played in the 12 days prior to Tuesday’s matchup, the Eagles showed few signs of rust in the early going. By the first half’s midway point, BC took control of the game in a 7–0 run. 

Quinten Post made it all happen, shredding the Demon Deacons’ defense at the rim and from beyond the arc en route to a 14-point first half. Along with nine first-half points of his own, Jaeden Zackery anchored BC’s defense, drawing a pair of charging fouls against Wake Forest.

While Post and Zackery drew much of the attention, McGlockton quietly did much of BC’s dirty work. The sophomore forward recorded an efficient 15 points, along with nine rebounds in the contest. 

“I’m just doing all I can, trying to be the junkyard dog, as Coach says,” McGlockton said. “That’s the way I help the team. Just grab the offensive boards, do all the dirty work—that’s what I can do.”

BC’s lead swelled to as much as 10 points by the 4:51 mark, but the Demon Deacons refused to cave. Led by transfers Kevin Miller and Hunter Sallis, Wake Forest clawed its way back to a 40–36 halftime deficit.

Wake Forest roared out of the gates in the second half, taking less than three minutes to reclaim the lead amid an 8–3 stretch. The Demon Deacons’ offense was humming early in the half, connecting on a pair of alley oops to surge ahead of the Eagles, 49–45, at the 15:28 mark. 

“The start of the second half really changed the game,” Wake Forest head coach Steve Forbes said.

When Donald Hand Jr. stopped BC’s bleed out with a critical 3-pointer at the 14:38 mark, a dogfight was set for the remainder of regulation.

Though the lead flipped back and forth in the ensuing minutes, the Demon Deacons powered ahead to take a seemingly decisive 77–67 lead with 3:24 left. But Just as Wake Forest prepared to put the Eagles to bed, Claudell Harris Jr. responded. 

The junior guard rattled off eight-straight points to pull BC back within two, nearing the game’s conclusion. Though Harris eventually nailed another jumper and cut the deficit down to one, free-throw misses ultimately sunk the Eagles’ chances at a comeback. Carr’s wide-open, back-breaking 3-pointer sealed the deal. 

“They drove the ball, so maybe somebody was coming to help, but I’m not 100 percent sure,” Grant said of Carr’s shot. “I couldn’t even see anybody near him, so I was shocked he got a good look like that. It was a one-point game.”

The defeat marked BC’s second loss in the final minutes of an ACC game this season.

“You’re going to win some and you’re going to lose some, but the next step for us is to find a way to win these close games,” Grant said. “We’ve lost two games by a total of three possessions.”

January 2, 2024