The Boston College men’s basketball team took control of this one early and never looked back, upsetting #6 Virginia 63-48 for their biggest win in quite some time.
The Eagles looked shaky to start as the Cavaliers controlled the tip and the first few possessions of the game, jumping out to a 4-0 lead. However, Makai got the scoring started for BC with his signature mid-range jumper, jumpstarting a 9-0 run that included a Prince Aligbe three and an emphatic Quinten Post dunk. Conte was buzzing early, and it felt like the Eagles belonged. However, senior guard Jayden Gardner quickly responded for Virginia, scoring 8 points in the first 8 minutes, tying the game at 13-13 with 11:41 to play in the first half. With 9 minutes to play, freshman guard Chas Kelley continued to show off his flashy playmaking, dishing a sweet pass to McGlockton for the and-1.
At the 6-minute mark of the first half, Makai Ashton-Langford got his second steal of the game and took it to the rack on the fastbreak, forcing Tony Bennett to call a timeout. The Conte faithful erupted as the Eagles took a 21-15 lead. After the break, Quinten Post threw up back-to-back airballs as UVA’s defense seemed to settle in. Although UVA is the side known for their stout defense, Earl Grant’s squad was locked in their defensive stances early as Virginia shot just 7-25 (28%) from the field with 4 minutes to play in the first. After a dull stretch where neither team scored much, Makai threw up a prayer of a three from the corner just as the shot clock ran out to make it 24-19.
You could feel the energy in the building as the Eagles put together a scary good half on the defensive side of the ball, holding UVA to just 21 first-half points. Makai led the team with 11 points, as the Eagles shot an overall 52% from the floor at the half. Despite the clear shooting advantage, BC committed 11 turnovers in the first frame, allowing Virginia to keep it to a 28-21 game. Quinten Post was quiet early on as UVA threw constant double teams at him, however, he found some success finding cutters going to the hoop.
A tough drive and finish for Jaeden Zackery opened up the scoring for the Eagles in the second half, as they led 30-23 with 17 minutes left. The Eagles kept up their stifling defense as JZ swiped a steal and Makai finished on the other end. The two guards were running Tony Bennett’s squad off the floor. Five minutes into the second, Post laid an absolute body on his way to the rack, before hitting a sweet pump fake and floater to push the lead to 36-25. UVA looked as if they had no answer until Isaac McKneely smacked two huge threes to bring it within 9 with 13 minutes to play in the game.
With just over 11 minutes to play, UVA missed two consecutive free throws, sending the crowd into a frenzy, as they earned their free bacon cheese fries. Just when you thought it could not get any louder, Jaeden Zackery pulled up for a huge three that took the top off of Conte Forum as the Eagles went up 44-33. As the UVA and BC fans traded chants back and forth, Jaeden Zackery again quieted the visitors, getting back-to-back buckets to push the lead to 12. At the 5-minute mark, Prince Aligbe found himself free with a lane to the basket and slammed home a huge dunk. Devin McGlockton added two clutch free throws to take a 53-41 lead late. From here on out, it was not close. As the students crowded the edges of the floor with a minute to go, the Langford brothers hit back-to-back threes to put the icing on the cake.
Boston College basically went wire to wire against the #6 team in the country, and they did it by beating the Cavaliers at their own game. The Eagles showed an unbelievable amount of grit and heart all game as their defense looked impenetrable. In a game where Quinten Post was not at his best, the backcourt duo of Jaeden Zackery and Makai Ashton Langford came to the rescue. Zackery had 12 points and 3 steals, while Makai put up a team-high 16 points on 6-9 shooting. DeMarr Langford also had a great night off the bench as he went a perfect 5-5 from the field with 12 points.
With their upset tonight, Boston College has their first 8-win season in ACC play since 2011. As the students poured onto the floor, spirits were unbelievably high. Conte Morgue no more. Earl Grant has brought this program back from the dead. The energy was palpable. It just felt different.
It is clear that BC can play with any team in the country with the type of hustle and team identity that they displayed tonight.
Man, that was fun. How ‘bout those Eagles!