The Rhode Island Rams traveled up to Chestnut Hill on Sunday afternoon to face the Boston College Eagles in a men’s basketball match-up to cap off Thanksgiving break. After a back-and-forth and defensive game, Boston College came out on top, 53-49.
The game started close, with both teams creating some open looks on offense in the halfcourt and not much happening in transition. But BC’s typical offensive issues started to crop up quickly when URI went on a 6-0 run after a few minutes and the Eagles struggled to move the ball around. Jaeden Zackery and Makai Ashton-Langford have the ability to take over games in the paint, though, and they did exactly that to bring it close for the remainder of the first half. Jaeden Zackery had 10 points by halftime as the teams were tied up at 28.
BC came out of the gates hot in the second half to score 5 straight, but quickly cooled off and allowed URI time to warm up their own offense and continue the slugfest. Lots of players were going down hard onto the ground in a physical, ugly game, including a rough moment that saw DeMarr Langford Jr. slam his head mouth-first into the floor. A physical style is how Earl Grant’s teams can thrive, though, and the game started to tip in BC’s favor about 5 minutes into the second half thanks to a lot of gritty drives to the hoop and offensive rebounds.
But when BC can’t score in transition, they often resort to bad contested shots that just don’t often go in, which is what quickly happened midway through the second half. The Eagles went 7+ minutes without scoring a single field goal and URI took advantage by turning a 6-point deficit into a 4-point lead. A tough Eagles defense doesn’t mean much when the offense is utterly inept.
Finishing out the game, both teams struggled to put the ball in the basket, but BC was able to bring back their lead with under 2 minutes to go as Devin McGlockton hit a wide open layup. URI managed to get multiple second chance opportunities on the other end, eventually drawing a foul and hitting just one free throw to bring BC’s lead down to 1 point, 50-49. Jaeden Zackery hit just one free throw after being fouled by URI, making it 51-49 with 19 seconds left. The Rams shot very early in their possession and missed, sending Devin McGlockton to the free throw line to hit both of his shots. BC went up by 4 and made the game unreachable for Rhode Island.
What sticks out most obviously is the style of offense Boston College plays. The passing and off-ball movement looks like some of the worst in college basketball. Their offense relies almost completely on the individual efforts of scorers, which is high variance and not a consistent way to win games. When you get a bad shooting day from guys like Mason Madsen or Makai Ashton-Langford like we saw today, there isn’t much structure in the offensive system for anyone to pick up the slack. The Eagles just end up relying even further on its other players to make something happen individually. Today, it was DeMarr Langford Jr. trying to compensate, and he just ended up being smothered in the paint. If BC wants to start competing at a higher level and approach .500 in ACC play, the offense needs to get much more complex and they need a lot more spacing.
In the end, Boston College shot 30.4% from the field. That kind of play just won’t be competitive in-conference.
Boston College men’s basketball travels to play Nebraska on Wednesday for their next game. Catch it at 9:15pm on ESPN U, and keep your eyes on BC Interruption for coverage.