Boston College fell to Maine tonight in disappointing fashion, losing 69-64.
The game featured a slow start, as several BC turnovers and missed shots at the rim led to an early 9-5 deficit after five minutes. Zackery started off hot, with a 3 and nice layup at the rim. DeMarr Langford Jr. checked in with 15:22 on the clock in the first half, a welcome return for an Eagles team that needs his scoring and defensive ability. He instantly provided, with a silky midrange jumper on the first offensive possession after subbing in.
Nevertheless, the Eagles continued to struggle with sloppy offensive play and subpar defensive, meaning they trailed by three after nine minutes played. Inserted into the starting lineup, Penha Jr. continued his strong start to the season, getting a smooth spinning layup to fall to cut BC’s deficit to one. After a Zackery free throw tied the game, Maine’s Peter Filipovity hit an and-1 triple to put Maine back on top. Maine’s zone defense gave the Eagles a lot of problems, as their poor 3-point shooting resulted with a lot of empty offensive possessions. Maine used this to their advantage, going on an 11-0 run that ended with a pair of Ashton-Langford free throws with four minutes to play in the half.
The Eagles finally got a shot to drop with Mason Madsen hitting a 3 before Jaedan Zackery launched a halfcourt triple that just beat the buzzer, meaning the Eagles were (somehow) only down 34-30 at the half – despite shooting a pitiful 33.3% from the floor and only 4/12 from beyond the arc. BC just could not seem to figure out Maine’s zone defense, which gave BC a lot of open jumpers that they just could not get to fall.
The start of the second half featured much of the same struggles for the Eagles as the first half. They missed some open 3s and layups at the rim, gave up a few buckets and all of a sudden were staring at a nine-point deficit. With 15 minutes left, the teams began trading buckets, and a big-time DeMarr Langford Jr. chasedown block gave the Eagles some life. Makai Ashton-Langford scored back-to-back buckets to draw BC within five, forcing Maine to call timeout.
Unfortunately for BC, they just could not seem to keep the momentum on their side. Maine scored a couple quick buckets to restore their nine-point lead and after a Madsen triple, Filipovity hit another and-1 to further dampen the Eagles’ momentum. With eight minutes to play, the Eagles trailed 58-48. However, Makai Ashton-Langford went on a 4-0 run by himself, Chas Kelley got a huge swat at the rim and all of a sudden the Eagles finally had some momentum. With 6:36 to play, Maine called a timeout still leading 58-54. After trading buckets for two minutes, Maine looked like they were about to pull away after forcing a turnover while up 65-60. A Chas Kelley steal and finish, however, cut the lead back to five and Ashton-Langford added two free throws to make it a 3-point game. BC had multiple opportunities to tie or take the lead down the stretch – Ashton-Langford missed the first free throw of a one-and-one, Zackery turned the ball over on a breakaway, and a complete inability to get a defensive rebound – but it was not meant to be. BC fell 69-64 in a poor effort. Of more concern, too, is the fact that DeMarr Langford had to be helped off the court in the final minutes with an apparent injury.
Overall, three main issues stand out to me in the early going of the season: BC has no consistent outside shooting, as they went 5-18 from beyond the arc – good for only 27.8%. Whether against Maine’s zone defense or man-to-man, the looks from 3 just would not fall. Moreover, they missed eight (8!) free throws, going 11-19. It’s called the charity stripe for a reason, and not taking advantage of that allows opponents to stay in games and significantly hurts BC’s already questionable offense. Lastly, the (lack of) rebounding is an issue. BC struggled on the boards against Cornell, and the inability to secure a defensive rebound tonight cost them the chance to tie the game. Without Bickerstaff, there just does not seem to be that big glass cleaner who can secure the ball. Now, this will improve when 7’1 Quinten Post returns, but it is no doubt an issue.
The Eagles will look to rebound when they take on George Mason in the Paradise Jam Tournament on 11/18.