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BC’s Big Three Make a Statement Against Notre Dame

The front court looked strong in a complete performance against the Fighting Irish

Boston College 73 Notre Dame 57? Wait a minute, is that a typo or is it true? If it is, don’t BC fans deserve a holiday off on Monday? All game against the Fighting Irish is circled no matter how team records stand. For BC faithful, the satisfaction of victory for BC over the Golden Domers rivals that of the Red Sox over the Yankees.

The dismantling of the Irish was no fluke as Boston College took their game to another level of cohesiveness as they continued the long, laborious process to meld together and play the way the coaches envision. Most telling on this night was the play of the key big three men for Boston College, Quinten Post, James Karnik, and T.J. Bickerstaff.

Boston College roughed up Notre Dame physically as Karnik opened the game with immediate control of the paint, gathering the first of his thirteen rebounds and dropping in the first of 17 points on the night. Notre Dame had no answer from the start as he bullied his way to the basket, repeatedly backing in Laszewski. This type of aggressive play will be necessary against more brutal in the paint foes like NC State’s Dereon Seabron and the expected payback attempt by Notre Dame during back-to-back Wednesday matches in February.

Perhaps Coach Brey of Notre Dame sensed this going in and went for a three-guard offense with the belief that his backcourt would out quick BC’s guards and control the tempo. That did not happen as BC’s guards’ speed was more than equal, downright nasty with swats, hustle, and penetration to pull the ND defense out of its sets and gain a greater sense of teammates who have a good look. A boisterous crowd picked up on the effort, leaving the team undefeated at home at 6-0, and saw deft substitutions by Coach Grant to maintain momentum.

In any game, multiple things must be achieved for victories against more formidable foes, and defense is the moniker with the Conte Forum faithful’s recognition of the effort with some of the most raucous crowd noise coming while on the defensive end of the court. BC denied Notre Dame baseline penetration, forcing a high number of outside shots from behind the three-point arc. When it came to rebounds, Karnik, Bickerstaff, and Post owned the boards for BC and combined for twenty-five of the teams thirty-six.

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BC will need to head deeper into their frontcourt bench as the season progresses. Frederick Scott has the size at six-feet eight inches and two hundred and thirty pounds but seems challenged about his role on the floor and his shot selection, too often seen standing still and overthinking on the court.

There is no doubt Scott can do it, assuming his movement and responsibilities become more automatic as just last year at Rider, he averaged 12.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. Scott was highly consistent as he posted 20 games in double figures, including a season-high 25 points twice. The week off will be essential for him to gain greater confidence in the offensive scheme.

Beyond Scott, team length is available in first-year player Devon McGlockton at six-feet seven inches and two hundred twenty pounds. The consensus three-star recruit Justin Vander Baan, a long sophomore seven-footer out of Northbridge, Massachusetts, is intriguing at 230 pounds. Vander Baan will get better with added weight; strength and we hope for a necessarily mean streak.

Coach Earl Grant reiterates that this is an effort of continuous improvement. His eight-man rotation relies too much on the starting five heading into mostly ACC play. Watch for these other frontcourt players to get a greater sniff of court time as they gain confidence to play the required witty, gritty style. For one game, Grant may offer a small smile of satisfaction, erased by it being only one game. His entire frontcourt was in rhythm and perhaps see more clearly how powerful the style of play, that takes such hard work, can feed off of itself.

Yes, it was only one game of the nineteen regular-season ACC games ahead, but a burst of fresh air-filled Conte Forum with fan intensity that breathed it all in. A momentary reward for past hard work and an incentive for even greater focus and determination ahead.