On Saturday afternoon, the Boston College men’s basketball team traveled down to Newark, NJ to face the Villanova Wildcats in the Never Forget Classic. The game was held in cooperation with the Never Forget Fund, supporting educational programs and helping preserve the 9/11 Memorial & Museum as a sacred place of remembrance, reflection, and learning for a new generation. BC wore their newly unveiled Red Bandana basketball jerseys for the game, a tribute to 9/11 hero and BC alum Welles Crowther. Villanova won the contest, 77-56.
The game started out slow on offense for Boston College, as Eagles fans have gotten used to at this point in the season. Villanova got out to an early lead in the first half, leading by double digits within 10 minutes mostly thanks to their three-point shooting. The Wildcats hit 53% of their shots from beyond the arc in the first half, going 8/15. BC was able to keep it within a competitive range for the remainder of the half, cutting the lead to 3 points at one point, but Villanova ended the half leading 40-30. CJ Penha’s buzzer-beating three-pointer from near halfcourt at the end of the half was a bit of a confidence boost for BC, at least.
The second half was back-and-forth for a while with Villanova maintaining a ~13 point lead for a significant amount of time before eventually opening up their offense with a 9-0 run with under 7 minutes to play. Mason Madsen had a few nice looks and the Eagles went shot-for-shot with their opponents for stretches, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit and secure a W. Villanova took the game easily in the end.
Fouls and violations, especially traveling, have haunted this team on the offensive end. BC should not be getting called for travels as often as they have been. It’s especially troubling considering how low-scoring this offense already is. Cleaning up the meaningless turnovers is such an easy step for improvement that still has not been made over 10 games into the season.
DeMarr Langford Jr. led BC in scoring but did not look all that great doing so. His defense this season has been notably worse than his peers and his production on the other side of the floor has been inefficient. He’s shooting just 39% from the floor this season and is 6th on the team in scoring per game. Without really any teammates that can space the floor, it makes it very difficult for Langford to operate on offense around the paint.
BC isn’t competitive even when they’re hitting their three-pointers. None of their players have been hitting threes at a consistent rate, except for perhaps CJ Penha who has been hovering around 35% on the season. Jaeden Zackery in particular has been dreadful from beyond the arc, shooting just about 27% despite having the second most attempts per game. Three-point attempt leader Mason Madsen has been even worse at 25%. Games like this one in which they do a decent job and make 6/11 threes in the first half still are not enough to patch up this dysfunctional offense. The issues run much deeper, especially when it comes to off-ball movement.
Boston College next hosts Stonehill in Conte Forum on Tuesday December 13th.