The Eagles entered the matchup with Holy Cross with room to improve even after their strong win over Dartmouth, and showed improvement in multiple facets of their game on Friday night in an 85-55 win over Holy Cross at Conte Forum. With the win, BC improved to 2-0.
BC jumped out to an early 17-6 lead within the first 5 minutes of play, shooting 89% from the floor while holding Holy Cross to just 38% shooting. DeMarr Langford picked up where he left off in the season opener to fuel BC’s hot start, scoring BC’s first points of the game.
The Eagles ultimately never surrendered the lead. As the first half went on BC continued to stretch their lead by forcing turnovers and turning those into easy transition buckets, with 18 points off of Holy Cross turnovers in the first half.
With DeMarr Langford Jr. at the forefront, BC’s guards, including Makai Ashton-Langford and Jaeden Zackery propelled the offense. The guard play was complemented by more solid play from both Quinten Post and James Karnik.
BC went into the locker room at halftime with a 49-27 lead. Eagles dominated the first half turnover game, forcing 12 turnovers converting those into 20 points, and had free reign when it came to transition with 16 fast-break points.
The Eagles didn’t cool off in the dressing room, storming out of the locker room and going on a 13-0 run early in the half.
Both Karnik and Post look like players who can be reliable big men for the Eagles. Makai Ashton Langford looked like the player Providence College thought they were getting when they recruited him in 2017 - quick, agile, cutting to the basket, and drawing fouls. The Grad senior looked like a real floor general out on the court.
It was a really good showing from the new guys like Post, Bickerstaff, and Zackery. Zackery in particular improved after his struggles against Dartmouth.
DeMarr Langford Jr. led the way with 20 points, TJ Bickerstaff had the team high 7 rebounds, and Jaeden Zackery was the assist leader with 6.
Eagles showed some slight improvement in the free-throw game as they were 70% from the line. For the first time since January 16th, 2021 BC committed less than double digit turnovers, with only 9 turnovers - with most coming in the second half once the game was in hand.
Obviously, BC is supposed to beat a team like Holy Cross but that has not quite been the case the last few years. In the recent past the Eagles struggled to shoot consistently and not turn the ball over. So the bar has been set pretty low. On Friday, against the Crusaders the Eagles should’ve been the better team on the court and they should looked the part too. It wasn’t just that BC was winning big, it was that they looked polished and consistent.
There are still big question marks about this team. The three ball was totally absent; the Eagles were 3-14 from beyond the arc and did not get a lot of production off their bench. Buckets will not come so easily against better competition, especially ACC competition, and if the Eagles can’t find a way to get their 3 ball going that could make it even harder for this team as the season goes on. BC will likely have to lean heavily on players like Makai Ashton Langford and DeMarr Langford to account for most of their scoring and neither seems to be very willing shooters.
That said, this was a strong win, and it is a good sign that Grant has the Eagles playing focused and effective basketball early.