Sports, Winter, Basketball, Men's Basketball

Eagles Give Up Third Conference Loss to Syracuse With 69–59 Defeat

Following an electric Mason Madsen 3-point make and a layup by Prince Aligbe, Boston College men’s basketball held a 50–49 lead over Syracuse. 

For 52 seconds. 

The Eagles’ short-lived lead—their first and only of the game—ended abruptly when the Orange’s Chris Bell splashed in a basket from behind the arc, one of his four made 3-pointers in Wednesday night’s game. 

Despite trailing the Orange by as many as 19 points in the opening half, the Eagles managed to claw their way back into the game behind strong performances from Claudell Harris Jr., Devin McGlockton, Aligbe, and Madsen. 

The four combined for 52 of BC’s points, proving themselves on a night when BC’s scoring staples Quinten Post and Jaeden Zackery both finished the game scoreless—a rare feat for them. 

“[Jaeden Zackery] and Quinten Post have been with me for three years,” BC head coach Earl Grant said. “That’s never happened.” 

BC’s late success, however, was not enough. Completing the comeback proved too big a feat for the Eagles (10–5, 1–3 Atlantic Coast), and Syracuse (11–4, 2–2) came away with a 69–59 victory in the ACC contest. 

The game started poorly for the Eagles when Syracuse got off to a quick 8–0 start, during which Bell and Justin Taylor each nailed a three, and Maliq Brown threw down a dunk on a blown defensive set by BC.

Syracuse’s defense also seemed to rattle the Eagles from tipoff, as BC got off to a 1-of-11 start from behind the arc. With eight minutes left in the first half, the Eagles had put just seven points on the board. 

“It disrupted us and made us look like a team that couldn’t take care of the ball,” Grant said.  

Harris, however, looked determined to turn the game around. 

With 3:15 left in the first half, he hit a 3-pointer off the dribble to put 12 on the board for BC. Less than a minute later, he made a layup and drained another shot from behind the arc to make it 32–17. 

Eagles’ late first-half surge was capped off by Madsen, who drove full speed into the paint and finished a layup to cut the Orange’s lead to 13 with 1:10 remaining in the half. 

As the clock ran down, Madsen pump faked, allowed his defender to fly by, then sunk a 3-pointer to send the Eagles into their locker room down 10 points, 32–22. 

McGlockton, who scored 30 points in BC’s Jan. 6 win over Georgia Tech, picked up right where he left off. He scored 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting. 

He also grabbed 14 rebounds and compiled 3 blocks, making his presence known in the paint to a strong, athletic Syracuse team that played unafraid of physicality. 

With just over 17 minutes remaining in the second half, McGlockton gathered an offensive rebound following a 3-point miss from Post. Shortly after, Zackery missed a 3-pointer. McGlockton once again cleaned up the boards and went back up with it, banking it off the glass for two. 

With Post in foul trouble, Grant turned to his bench for help.

After Harris missed a 3-pointer with 12:34 to go, Chas Kelley III grabbed the long rebound and got it back to Harris for a second attempt, which the sharpshooter sank to cut the Orange’s lead to seven. A minute later, Kelley assisted on another 3-pointer, this time from Madsen to cut the deficit to six. 

Then, Kelley took matters into his own hands. He drove into the paint on two straight possessions, scoring on both and putting the Eagles within four. 

“You’re searching and you’re trying to figure out what combinations to put in a game who can take care of the ball,” Grant said. “We found a combination of guys and it was our complete second unit.”

But after Aligbe’s layup gave the Eagles their brief lead, Bell, Brown, and Judah Mintz teamed up to put the game away for the Orange. The trio scored 18 of Syracuse’s next 19 points, seven of which came from the free-throw line. 

“They got a lot more calls than we did,” Grant said. “They shot 23 [free throws], we shot four. That’s a big number.”

McGlockton’s attempt at a game-salvaging 3-pointer rattled in and out, and the Orange handed the Eagles their third conference loss. 

“There were a lot of positives,” Grant said. “We’ve got plenty of time to watch this film and try to figure out how we can get better from the mistakes we made tonight.”

January 11, 2024