The Eagles pulled away late in a 73-64 win over Harvard tonight.
Despite the Crimson winning the opening tip, it was Boston College who struck first by way of a Claudell Harris Jr. triple. BC’s offense looked good in the contest’s first few minutes, with Post and McGlockton both getting high-percentage looks in the paint. At the first media timeout, the Eagles held a 7-4 edge having forced 3 Crimson turnovers and connecting on 3 of their first 6 shots. Harvard sparked some momentum by way of an and-1 triple by Malik Mack, and with Quinten Post out of the game proceeded to tie the game at 10 after Armani Mighty picked up two quick fouls.
Post quickly stifled the Crimson momentum, routinely laying in a mini hook shot before drilling a midrange jumper to put BC up 16-10 and force a Harvard timeout at 12:11 in the first half. Despite forcing a turnover leading to a thunderous Aligbe dunk, the timeout seemed to get the Crimson rolling. They hit three 3s and started locking up on defense, going on a 13-0 run and taking their first lead of the night. It wasn’t until a nice McGlockton layup with 8 minutes to play in the half that the Eagles snapped the drought, and they trailed 23-20 at the second media timeout with 7:32 in the half. Zackery hit his first trey of the contest on an in-rhythm catch-and-shoot corner shot to tie the game at 23, before putting back his own miss on BC’s next trip to give the Eagles the lead. He really got the Conte crowd going with an and-1 bucket with 3:43 to play in the half, and he hit the FT to put the Eagles up 30-25. Harvard would not go away, however, answering immediately with an and-1 of their own to fuel a short 6-0 run of their own. Harvard took a 35-33 lead to halftime, in no small part due to connecting on 6-13 of their threes compared to BC’s 2-11 mark. The Eagles for stretches looked really solid on the offensive and defensive sides of the floor, but the inconsistency and tough Harvard shotmaking meant they would not go away.
Harvard came out ready to go in the second half, scoring two quick buckets while Aligbe turned the ball over twice. The Eagles found themselves down 10 within the first few minutes of the second half, and McGlockton picked up his second and third fouls in quick succession as well. Things looked even worse when McGlockton was called on his fourth foul, forcing him out of the game, but it was Claudell Harris who turned the tide. He splashed two threes, sandwiched around an Aligbe putback and a Post and-1, to give the Eagles an 11-0 run and the lead back with 15:05 to play. With Conte rocking, the Eagles took back the momentum and forced a Harvard timeout. The three-guard lineup of Zackery, Harris, Hand along with Aligbe and Post found a groove offensively, stretching the Harvard defense and generating good shots in the paint and along the perimeter. Harvard, with the threes not falling like they were in the first half, responded by attacking the paint – with McGlockton out of the game and Prince undersized for a 4, Harvard found success on the block.
The two teams struggled for offense as they settled into the second half, trading buckets and stops with neither side able to create much separation. With 8:32 to play, the teams were knotted at 56. Elijah Strong saw some big minutes, with McGlockton in foul trouble. He played with high energy, aggressively rebounding and playing some tough defense. If he can emerge as a reliable backup big, it would be huge for this team that sorely lacks size beyond Post and McGlockton.
Both teams continued playing stingy defense down the stretch, going aggressively for loose balls and rebounding hard – though with McGlockton sidelined, BC really struggled on its defense glass. The Eagles gave up 8 offensive rebounds, keeping Harvard’s offense alive. Offensively, the Eagles put Kelley in the game along with Madsen in place of Zackery and Harris and struggled. Kelley just looked off. He’s had a rough start to the season, and he looks over eager in the few minutes he gets – he’s trying to do too much, forcing shots and passes that aren’t there. I’m confident in his potential, but tonight he just could not get a groove. Harris, however, was a force tonight, getting open all of the floor and shooting the ball confidently. It was Zackery who hit the dagger – with minutes to play, late in the shot clock, he attacked the rim off the dribble and put the Eagles out of reach. They would win, 73-64, on the back of an impressive second half. Scoring came from all over the lineup, and the Eagles’ defense kept them in the game until shots started falling.
The Eagles take on Colorado St. on 11/22.