John Sexton / Gavel Media

Men’s Basketball Beats No. 6 Virginia in Their Biggest Win of the Season

On Wednesday night, BC students – some of them sporting ashes on their foreheads – stormed the court in Conte Forum after the Eagles beat the Cavaliers 63-48. This was the third win the Eagles had against a ranked team this season, but the first win against a top 10 school since 2017, when they beat Duke 89-84.

Tension filled the court at the beginning of the game; Virginia seemed to be an unbeatable opponent, sitting at the top of the ACC standings while Boston College was below .500 for the season. Although the Eagles were coming off a win against Florida State, their 30-point loss against NC State was still fresh, and the Cavaliers were coming off a four-game win streak. However, as fans streamed into Conte Forum until it was near capacity, the Eagles came out with energy that hasn’t been present in the past few weeks. 

Although the Cavaliers took the lead early in the game, the Eagles took over midway through the half and held onto their lead for the rest of the game. They used an 11-2 run to quickly make it 26-17. Early in the second, the Eagles had a 13-point advantage, forcing Virginia to try to come back from a large deficit. 

Makai Ashton-Langford and Jaeden Zackery held the Eagles’ offense down with a combined 28 points. Ashton-Langford had 16 points and 6 rebounds, which was critical in building up the double-digit lead that helped bring Boston College to victory. Zackery came alive in the second half, scoring all 12 of his points in that time, and was active in firing up the Eagles’ crowd. Quinten Post was also essential to Boston College’s game, playing the most minutes with 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. 

The Eagles’ defense, however, was the star of the show in this game, holding the Cavaliers to a season-low 32% from the field, and a mere 19% in 3-point field goals. Their 48 points were the lowest the Cavaliers had scored since 2021. Although forward Jayden Gardner had a game-high 16 points, Boston College’s defense kept all of the other Cavaliers to 7 points or lower. They forced 9 turnovers from Virginia, and collected 36 rebounds as a team.

The Eagles had another advantage on their side: the crowd. Although there were plenty of Virginia fans in Conte Forum, they were continuously drowned out by Boston College fans decked out in maroon, gold, and winter hats that were given away at the game. The players took advantage of this, at times even trying to hype the crowd up while on the court. Even Virginia head coach, Tony Bennett, acknowledged the impact of the crowd: “I think they sensed, boy, I think we're gonna get these guys. As the thing wore on, you could feel the crowd get into it.” As the Eagles drew closer to the end of the game without offering any opportunities of relinquishing their lead, the crowd became deafening. 

With minutes left in the game, security moved into position, but they knew that they were delaying the inevitable. As the buzzer blew, students stormed the court as Boston College players celebrated, and the Cavaliers walked through the crowds to the visitor’s locker room. Mr. Brightside played, students started to chant “basketball school,” and core memories were made in Chestnut Hill. 

This loss moves Virginia (21-5, 13-4 ACC) out of the number one spot in the ACC: they are now behind Miami and tied in second with Pittsburgh. With this win, the Eagles’ record moves up to 14-15 (8-10 ACC), and hope to keep the magic alive next Tuesday, when they play Wake Forest in North Carolina. Since there are only two games left in the regular season, Boston College hopes to finish above .500 with wins against Wake Forest and Georgia Tech, who they play next Saturday at home.

International Studies major, and a huge fan of late-night mozz sticks. Boston sports > all, except the Yankees have my heart (sorry!).

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