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Boston College Men’s Basketball Completes the Sweep Over Notre Dame, 61-58

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 27 Boston College at Notre Dame Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

On Saturday afternoon, the Eagles picked up the season sweep over Holy War rivals Notre Dame, 61-58.

The Irish struck first courtesy of a JR Konieczny triple, but offenses on both sides took a couple minutes to settle into the game. Prince Aligbe got the Eagles on the board via a nice layup, and McGlockton scored a tough putback finish before splashing a triple to give the Eagles an early two-point edge. The defense came out aggressively, forcing four Irish turnovers in the first 7 minutes and racing out in transition. On the other hand, Quinten Post missed his first four shots while picking up two early fouls to send him to the bench. Armani Mighty, who had one of his strongest performances in the ACC, saw some early run and continued his encouraging play. He’s still very raw, but every game he shows signs of being an impact player for these Eagles – he’s just learning to use his size on both ends of the floor.

By the first media timeout, the Eagles had not allowed any points in almost five minutes and held a 10-5 edge despite shooting just 4-14 from the floor. Konieczny finally broke the scoreless stretch by connecting on three straight FTs, before canning another 3 and following it up with a layup. His personal 8-0 run gave the Irish their first lead, as the Eagles could not connect on a couple of good looks on the other end. After nearly three minutes without a point, Chas Kelley penetrated off the dribble and dished to McGlockton for an easy basket. Donald Hand splashed a trey to give the Eagles the lead back. However, after another Konieczny bucket, Hand committed the Eagles’ 4th turnover to kill some momentum. After a second consecutive travel call, Grant brought Post back into the game to help the offense find some rhythm, and his presence helped settle the Eagles down on both ends of the court. McGlockton, in particular, benefitted by attacking his smaller defender. He attacked a closeout and got to the rim to tie the game at 20 with less than two minutes in the half. A tough three from Kelley – something he has not been consistently hitting – ensured the game would remain tied at 23 at half.

The second half opened with Post getting cooked on the defensive side of the floor but finally getting in the scoring column with an easy lay-in. The offensive struggles of both teams continued in the second half, though Chas Kelley hit his second three of the game – with a defender right on him – to give the Eagles a brief lead. Madsen, too, hit an in-rhythm triple to put the Eagles in front by 3. Neither team was able to put together a run to take control of the game, though – with both so inconsistent in their ability to string stops and buckets, down the stretch the teams kept exchanging leads. Claudell Harris (finally) found a comfortable shot, knocking down a catch-and-shoot corner 3. Though the Irish answered right back, Harris hit another three to give the Eagles a 46-42 lead with 8:44 to play, before forcing a steal and finishing a tough lay to force an ND timeout.

ND came out of their timeout and coach’s son Braeden Shrewsberry immediately connected on a triple to shave the lead back down to 3 with 6:40 to play. With Post on the floor despite his four fouls, he used a nice step-through move to put the Eagles up by 5, and though ND answered Chas took three guys on in transition and finished off the glass to restore the lead. With four minutes to play, though, Post picked up his fifth foul. Grant went with McGlockton as the small 5 rather than Mighty’s inexperienced size. The decision paid off, when McGlockton crashed the offensive glass off a Harris missed jumper, going up hard over his man to keep the Irish comeback at bay. Nevertheless, with 2:25 to play, Notre Dame had cut the lead to four.

On the ensuing Eagles possession, some excellent passing found Harris wide open on the wing for three, but his struggles continued as he could not capitalize. Markus Burton then came down and cashed an and-1 finish to draw the Irish within two – but who else than Jaeden Zackery, with his back to the basket, scoring a tough baby-hook floater to give the Eagles a four-point cushion with 23 seconds to play. After Shrewsbury missed a three pointer, Zackery calmly hit two FTs to ice the game, and Boston College went on to dispatch Notre Dame 61-58.