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BC MBB Embarrassed By Wake Forest, 85-63

Back to the drawing board

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Boston College Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Boston College was blown out by Wake Forest 85-63 tonight.

Wake Forest, led by senior guard Ty Appleby, controlled the opening tip of the game and then took the early lead on a putback bucket from F Andrew Carr. Boston College, however, responded with the best way they know how – a steal from Zackery, who found Ashton-Langford in transition for an easy deuce. After five minutes of play, BC trailed 9-4.

Offensively, the Eagles hamstring themselves with poor fundamental basketball. Jaeden Zackery – who many thought had turned a corner after excellent performances against Virginia Tech and Notre Dame – passed up a wide-open 3, which resulted in a forced Aligbe shot and ultimately led to an easy Wake transition bucket at the other end. Defensively, BC was able to hold its own early. Aside from ducking under a screen and allowing Appleby a wide-open 3, BC competed well. BC has recently employed a full-court press, and Grant seems to love it. I am not sold – when beaten quickly it leads to quick and easy buckets around the rim – but it looks like it is here to stay for the Eagles.

Offense was hard to come by in the first 10 minutes, with Wake leading 15-11 at a timeout with 11:29 in the half. BC – as we have come to expect from this squad – suffered from forced passes and poor shot selection, but luckily only faced a four-point deficit. Zackery was held to 2 points against Miami, and his struggles continued into the first half against Wake. He had several turnovers, passed up open looks and then missed a heavily contested 3. This Eagles team badly needs his scoring, so he needs to bounce back.

Not guarding Miami on the 3-point line badly hurt the Eagles last time out, and Wake began to take advantage here too, as G/F Bobi Klintman drilled 3 consecutive threes. Meanwhile, Boston College went on an all-too-familiar scoring drought and Wake pushed their advantage to 30-17 with 5:55 to play in the half, forcing Grant to call a timeout. When Quinten Post is in the game, BC’s offense has an outlet but Grant has not figured out how to stop opponent guards taking advantage of him defensively. When Post sits, BC gets dominated in the paint. Along the perimeter, BC’s guards struggle to contain defenders without overcommitting and handing Wake’s shooters open looks. Wake led by 17 with 3:42 to play.

Boston College hit 4 of their last 5 shots heading into half, with Penha picking up 4 quick points, to give the Eagles some momentum. But BC needed to figure out an answer for F Andrew Carr, who dropped 15 first half points on 7-7 shooting. All in all, only trailing 41-31 felt like a win after the terrible defense and stagnant offense that plagued BC after the first five minutes or so.

Jaeden Zackery finally got going with a sweet midrange pullup to begin the second half, but Wake answered instantly via a Hildreth and-1 bucket. Boston College’s defense continued to struggle, while the offense continued to sputter as Grant turned to Chas Kelley to run the offense with around 16 minutes to play. From that point on, however, BC was completely outclassed. BC gave up a 16-3 run, as Cam Hildreth for Wake Forest completely took over. The Eagles gave up multiple and-1 buckets – including Hildreth hitting a 3 plus the foul – while the offense could not generate anything. With 7 minutes to play, BC trailed 71-50. At that point, BC essentially waved the white flag, and the Eagles ultimately lost 85-63.

Wow. This was ugly. There was a sense of optimism after the VTech/ND/Close Duke loss stretch, and that has since evaporated. Wake was simply on another level tonight, and Boston College could not match them on either end of the court. Back to the drawing board for Earl Grant and Co.