It is no question that the last few weeks have been extremely tumultuous for the Boston College Eagles Men’s basketball team. Jim Christian gets canned mid-season, Wynston Tabbs announces he is going to test the transfer portal waters, Rich Kelly goes down for the rest of the season with a foot injury and also expresses his intent to transfer and another two games get cancelled due to COVID related matters. With the Eagles sitting at 3-13 (1-9) on the season, many BC alums began to call an end to the season and question what the rush was to continue playing. Today, in the first matchup for Scott Spinelli as acting interim Head Coach, BC faithful was able to get answer to those questions. Love for the game.
Coming into the Senior Day contest, the Eagles were well depleted with players. Tabbs and Kelly obviously were not seen near Conte Forum, and CJ Felder sat on the bench hampered with an injury and did not suit up. In a very admirable fashion, Spinelli spun out two Senior walk-ons, Sam Holtze and Will Jackowitz, into the starting lineup. Surprisingly, it was Sam Holtze that really set the tone for the Eagles early. In his two minutes seeing the floor drilled a three, grabbed a steal and forced a charge. Talk about efficiency. After that start to the game, the differences between the Irish and Eagles style of play was on full display. BC played with chemistry, poise and energy while the Irish appeared lackluster and lethargic. The Eagles played some of their best team ball all season with everyone getting in on the scoring with seven different BC players recording a bucket in the first ten minutes of action. This trend continued throughout the entirety of the first as BC’s consistent desire to win outpaced Notre Dame’s both on the floor and the stat sheet. The Eagles outrebounded the Irish on the offensive glass 6-1 leading to second chance opportunities and did not commit a single turnover in the whole first half.
Transitioning into the second, the Eagles did not take their foot off the gas despite short runs the Irish went on to keep the game competitive. Freddy Scott, who had not seen the floor since November, had a career high game for the Eagles and was a huge problem for Notre Dame the whole contest. He was able to use his big frame to draw fouls down low and also find success from beyond the arc allowing him to finish with 18 Points and 4 Rebounds off the bench. Give credit to the Langford brothers as well who played arguably their best game of the season combining for 35 Points, 8 Rebounds and 3 Steals.
It is hard to single out a “player of the game” as it was in the second half where we really continued to see that team to win mentality with every Eagle player contributing in some fashion. However, towards the end of the game, Eagles fans had to hold their breath for the final minute as BC almost shot itself in the foot with some poor free-throw shooting to ice the game. Jay Heath, who had his usual stellar shooting performance of 19 points, bricked some critical free-throws to keep the Irish in the game. Nevertheless, time was on BC’s side and Demarr was eventually able to close out the game with two free-throws of his own to bring the Eagles over the finish line against their Catholic rivals.
Overall, I must admit that I found myself having fun watch this team compete today. Everyone was clicking on all cylinders and the team seemed to have put their woes of the past few weeks behind them and look ahead. Furthermore, congratulations on a huge win for Scott Spinelli who was able to work with a broken roster, and a team that has endured so much change this season, to encourage them to play to win. Also, I don’t know about the rest of the Alums out there, but I thought it was great to see an upgrade from a passive coach like Christian to a spit-screaming and energized coach like Spinelli. It made feel like I was watching a true ACC team again.
Spinelli and the Eagles will look to finish off their regular season in the Sunshine state with two final away games against #11 Florida State and Miami. They take on the Seminoles on Wednesday March 3rd at 9 EST.