After winning the opening tipoff, the Eagles found themselves in a grinding, back-and-forth battle with Detroit Mercy tonight. Some early looks from three were not falling, and the Eagles were struggling to score in the half-court offense. Even more concerning for the Eagles, however, were the back-to-back injuries to freshman Prince Aligbe and Donald Hand Jr., who both left for the locker room with 12 minutes left in the first half. Aligbe would not return.
Following the injury timeout, though, the Eagles finally got some momentum going. Cincinnati transfer Mason Madsen hit two threes and some nice defense from Chas Kelley forced a turnover, giving Boston College a 6-0 run to stretch the lead to four. Each team’s offense slowed down after that, and T. Moss hit a tough and-1 basket to tie the game at 24 with 3:47 left in the half. Without Aligbe’s presence and athleticism in the post, the Eagles’ half-court offense struggles that plagued them against Cornell only worsened. Some excellent rebounding, especially from Bickerstaff, really helped BC stay right in the contest, while Mason Madsen came alive with 3 triples in the first half.
Defensively, the Eagles played tough – forcing 9 turnovers in the first half alone – but some timely shotmaking and excellent free throw shooting helped Detroit Mercy head to halftime with a 34-33 edge. Jayden Stone, especially, caught fire with 13 first-half points.
The Eagles started the second half brightly, with Makai Ashton-Langford scoring 5 quick points and Jaedan Zackery drawing a foul. Detroit Mercy hit back-to-back 3s, however, knotting the game again at 40 after two minutes. Detroit Mercy continued their hot shooting, pushing them to a six point lead. They kept BC at an arm’s length, answering BC bucket for bucket and preventing the Eagles from finding any sort of momentum. With 11:06 to play, the Eagles trailed by 7 and continued to struggle scoring against the set Detroit Mercy defense.
Around the 10 minute mark, shots finally started to fall, with Ashton-Langford finding a groove. At the 8:44 mark, he unleashed a vicious poster dunk, sending the crowd into a frenzy and trimming the deficit to two points. The Eagles forced several stops on the defensive end, but struggled to find that tying or go-ahead bucket, going scoreless for over 6 minutes. Jaedan Zackery went 1 of 2 at the line to cut Detroit’s lead to three, before forcing a huge 5-second violation to get the ball back. With 30 seconds to go, Detroit Mercy missed a free throw, and on the other end Devin McGlockton snagged a tough offensive rebound to find Mason Madsen. He drilled a dagger 3, and CJ Penha drew yet another charge to seal the dub.
WHEW. These Eagles make you sweat. They got it done in the end, but man was it close. Mason Madsen is my player of the game. Not only did he drill the dagger, but he went 5-11 from downtown and shot 6-13 overall to lead the team with 18 points. Also, shoutouts to Makai and Penha. Makai was able to keep BC’s offense (barely) afloat during the second half, while Penha continued his strong start to the season. He played some huge minutes with Aligbe unable to return after the first half. Speaking of – Aligbe is a major piece of this team, even as a freshman. The sooner he, Langford, and Post can be healthy the sooner we can see how good this team really is.
Next up, BC takes on Maine at Conte on Monday at 6:00 pm. Roll Eags!