Boston College hung on to take down bubble hopefuls Wake Forest tonight, winning 71-69.
It was a slow start for BC’s offense, who did not get on the board for almost 3 minutes into the game via a Zackery layup. Quinten Post was a noticeable absence from the starting lineup due to illness, and his offense was badly missed. BC committed several early, lazy turnovers while only making 1 of their first 6 shots. Wake dominated the first five minutes, on the strength of threes from Ty Appleby and Bobi Klintman.
Coming out of the media timeout, Quinten Post was inserted into the contest – and the Eagles quickly got right back into the game via an 8-1 run. Zackery, after his huge second half against UVA, looked aggressive with 6 early points. CJ Penha, meanwhile, came in with Post and added 5 quick points as well, meaning that BC only trailed 15-14 midway through the first half.
Steve Forbes quickly called TO (take notes please, Grant) and Wake responded to BC’s mini-run with a vicious alley-oop dunk from sophomore F Matthew Marsh. Both teams struggled to find a consistent rhythm on offense, as BC failed to convert on back-to-back broken possessions while Appleby airballed a triple at the end of the shot clock. Jaeden Zackery, however, found a groove (13 1st half points). He splashed a triple to draw the Eagles level, and though Wake answered with a triple of their own he followed on the next possession with a slick fadeaway jumper. It was not until Mason Madsen’s open triple that the Eagles took their first lead of the game, however, at 22-20 with just over 6 minutes left in the half.
Quinten Post – he makes it look so easy – got the easy layup over Carr to give BC the lead at 24-22, with the Eagles’ defense doing well to bounce back after the first few minutes. BC forced two shot clock violations and several airballs from Wake in the first half, regularly forcing the Deacs into shots late in the shot clock. Both teams just struggled to create any separation, as BC’s offense suffered from back-to-back missed layups from Madsen and Zackery, while Wake continued to struggle offensively. Both teams failed to convert a field goal for 3 straight minutes, as fouls and FTs slowed the game down and kept it close. Wake went to halftime with a 32-26 lead that definitely should have been smaller if BC had been able to convert some bunnies at the rack.
The Eagles opened the second half strongly, with Makai drawing a charge to force the turnover, before stealing another ball and taking it for the layup. The missed layups continued to bug BC, however, with Post this time missing an easy lay. Appleby – held to only 5 points in the first half – splashed a trey, but Prince Aligbe answered immediately with a three of his own. After the first half of grinding defense and long possessions, both teams’ offenses began to heat up. Makai, in particular, was feeling himself after being held scoreless in the first half. He scored back-to-back and-1s to close Wake’s lead to 1 after 5 minutes in the second half.
Ashton-Langford’s scoring sparked the rest of the team, leading BC to a 13-0 run and highlighted by a Madsen triple to put the Eagles up 44-40 with 13:30 to play. Even after 2 Appleby FTs, BC’s offense continued to cook with 5 straight Post points to put the Eagles up 7. Then it was Zackery’s turn to score 5 straight. The Eagles just found a rhythm, rocking Wake’s offense and building a 15-point lead. It was not until a Ty Appleby 3 that Wake finally found an answer, but he quickly followed with another to trim the Eagle lead to single digits with 8:20 to play.
Appleby followed with a layup, and BC lost their groove offensively and stumbled to a shot clock violation. Chas Kelley finally ended BC’s scoreless drought with a soft floater, but Wake drilled the wide-open corner 3 to cut the lead to 6 and get Wake’s fans into it, but they were quickly quieted by a hard Quinten Post and-1 finish to put BC back up by 8.
Down the stretch, both teams traded huge buckets. Makai splashed a triple, but Daivien Williamson answered for Wake. With 3:24 to play, BC clung to a 4 point lead. Bobi Klintman unleashed a vicious alley-oop dunk to draw Wake within 2, but Bickerstaff answered with a layup of his own. After Zackery could not get a layup to go, Williamson banked home a corner 3 (how?) to trim BC’s lead to 1 with 45.5 seconds left in the game. Quinten Post bailed BC out with 3 seconds on the shot clock to put BC up 3, but Ty Appleby answered with an and-1 to bring Wake all the way back and tie the game.
Without a timeout, with 19 seconds left, Makai delivered the dagger. He drew separation on the pump fake, stepped through and finished the easy layup to give BC a huge 71-69 win.