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Boston College Men’s Basketball Opens Up 2024 With a Close 84-78 Loss to Wake Forest

An admirable performance falls short

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Wake Forest William Howard-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday night, the Boston College Eagles men’s basketball team hosted the Wake Forest Demon Deacons for their first contest of the new year. Both teams came into this game riding multi-game win streaks thanks to some high-scoring offense, but only one could emerge victorious. After a hotly-contested game that featured several lead changes and some last minute heroics by BC’s Claudell Harris, Wake Forest escaped with the 84-78 victory.

With Brad Stevens in the stands at Conte, Quinten Post started hitting shots right away, including two three-pointers within the first six minutes. He was all over the floor backing down opponents, running in transition, making entry passes, and setting up threes in a way that made him look like the clear best player on the floor. He’s the engine that makes the BC offense go, and he showed it with his 14 first half points and 2 assists.

BC’s defense played really well too, taking fouls and keeping Wake scoreless for a long stretches, making sure they got nothing easy inside and forcing some low-percentage outside shots. Jaeden Zackery was the defensive ringleader and led the impressive defensive performance against a potent Wake offense, while Quinten Post provided some spark as well with his 2 blocks and 1 steal. That defense allowed BC to climb to a first half lead that got as high as 10 points, but some defensive breakdowns late in the half allowed Wake to climb back, narrowing the BC lead to 40-36 at halftime. Wake Forest guard Hunter Sallis especially looked good, going for 12 first half points without any three-pointers.

The BC offense slowed back down to start the second half, though, and the Wake offense continued heating up. Wake Forest started pushing the pace immediately and found scores in transition and with jumpshots on mismatches. The Eagles defense was really struggling to navigate the screens being set by Wake Forest and BC could not match the shot-creating ability as the Demon Deacons stormed back to a lead. Things started to even out after Wake Forest took the lead, though, as BC found some scoring from their bench in Donald Hand and Mason Madsen, among a few others. The two teams competed closely with several lead changes as the minutes ticked down.

But in the end, Wake Forest’s offense continued rolling all game while BC couldn’t get buckets down the stretch. The Eagles put up a lot of contested shots that wasted possessions and allowed Wake to run a lot of their offense in transition, a strength of theirs. Wake jumped out to a 9-point lead with just a few minutes left in the game. Despite some great late jumpers made by Claudell Harris that brought the Wake lead down all the way to 1 point, the Demon Deacons held on to win the game, 84-78, behind some great offense created by Boopy Miller and a late steal from Cam Hildreth.

Takeaways

  • When Quinten Post finds room to roam and makes plays across the court, the BC offense flourishes. A lot of their other scoring comes from Claudell Harris one-on-ones or spot-up shooting from a number of guys, but their best looks most often come when Post is moving the ball around and creating mismatches. The team has gotten better with time at using him to their advantage, but it feels like there could even be another level to unlock here.
  • The biggest dichotomy between the two offenses seemed to be the way the head coach ran each system. Wake Forest was much more active off the ball, setting screens and opening up lanes for all of their guys in a way that got them at least one good look on every possession. BC’s offense runs more through one-on-ones, passing around the arc, and filling holes. Their system is something that can be very effective for players with a big skillset like Quinten Post, but it can make for some bad looks when the BC offense reaches the 4th or 5th option.
  • Rebounding has been hugely important to this team, with Quinten Post and Devin McGlockton leading the way in second-chance opportunities. But the minutes without them out there can often feel sluggish.

Boston College next travels to face Georgia Tech on Saturday, January 6th.