Brevin Galloway smiled as he streaked down the court. The College of Charleston graduate transfer jogged back on defense with his tuft of maroon hair bouncing up and down as his Christmas green sneakers shuffled on the floor.
In his third game back with Boston College men’s basketball since midseason knee surgery, Galloway was at his best Wednesday night. He knocked down a trio of 3-pointers in the final 2:06 of the first half to help the Eagles finish the period on a 13-4 run and take a 38-36 lead over Georgia Tech into intermission.
Galloway already had a season-high 15 points at halftime. But he was outdone by another rotational sharpshooter: Tristan Maxwell, a sophomore who was playing in his third game this season because of dental surgery issues and COVID-19.
Maxwell, the son of former two-time NBA champion Vernon Maxwell, hadn’t made a 3-pointer in his first three career games. After hurting his hand in shootaround Tuesday, he was almost a scratch. He played, however, and starred with seven buckets from beyond the arc, pouring in a team-high 22 points in 26 minutes and lifting the Yellow Jackets to their first ACC win, 81-76.
GT (7-8, 1-4 ACC) went with a small-ball lineup, starting four guards. Head coach Josh Pastner knew his team needed a change. Something that would give the Yellow Jackets more oomph offensively. He said he was sitting out in his car two hours after their overtime loss to Notre Dame Saturday.
“We are dead last in our four ACC games in scoring and offensive efficiency,” Pastner told JacketsOnline. “It worked out tonight, and we are on the board.”
Mike Devoe, who came in leading GT with 21.1 points per game, scored the Yellow Jackets’ first seven points. Devoe was relatively held in check the rest of the way. Well, in terms of scoring. The 6-foot-5 senior guard chipped in a team-high nine rebounds, four blocks and four assists.
After missing three of its first four shots, BC (6-8, 1-3) went 4-of-7 from the floor. Center Quinten Post was taking advantage of the Yellow Jackets’ limited size inside, Galloway hit a jumper from the left block and the Eagles were up early, 11-10.
BC experienced the first of two scoring droughts later in the half, though. GT strung together a 12-2 run, thanks to three triples from Maxwell. DeMarr Langford Jr., whose rut continues, was late on closeouts.
It was the theme of the night as GT became the second opponent in the Eagles’ last three games to make 11 shots from deep. BC now has the worst 3-point defense in the ACC (36.9%).
Galloway rescued the Eagles, catching fire down the stretch and flipping the script. His 3-point outburst piloted BC to a halftime lead.
“I just kind of saw a guy I’ve been seeing for four years,” Grant said of Galloway. “Obviously, he’s not back to his athleticism where he can move and jump and run the way he typically has in the past. But he’s making strides toward it.
“He was critical tonight with some of the shots he made.”
Galloway gave the Eagles another shot in the arm in the second period. They needed it after their second dry spell of the night and GT ripping off a 12-0 run. Turnovers were a problem at the start of the second half. BC racked up five in the first eight minutes and change of the period.
Without much of a crowd at Conte Forum—partly because of the 9 p.m. tip, partly because students are still returning from winter break, partly because the Eagles are ACC bottom dwellers—BC needed to create its own energy. Cue, Galloway, who knocked down his fourth 3-pointer. Then Post converted an old-fashioned 3-point play to pull BC back within nine, 61-50.
“We’ve been fighting a couple patches in some of these games where, as a group, we’re trying to stay connected,” Grant said. “And we’re trying to stay poised. And we get back on track most times. But when you have two patches of three minutes like that, that can be the game.”
The Eagles continued to close the gap. An and-one from Jaeden Zackery helped. As did a fastbreak layup from Post, who shattered his previous career high of 14 points with a 24-point outing Wednesday night.
GT was trying to shake its own scoring hiccups. While BC turned the tide in the back half of the final frame, the Yellow Jackets missed seven of eight shots and, at one point, went more than two minutes without a basket. Jordan Usher, GT’s second-leading scorer, fouled out. BC stretched its run to 10-2 and took a 72-68 lead.
Post caught a perfectly-placed Langford Jr. pass over Khalid Moore and finished with a two-handed flush. Soon after, he scored on a putback.
But he fouled his former Mississippi State teammate Deivon Smith on the other end, and the speedy guard hit both of his free throws. The next Yellow Jackets possession, who else but Maxwell reclaimed the lead with a 3-pointer.
Then a wild sequence occurred. Devoe back ironed a 3-pointer, and Galloway turned a long rebound into a fastbreak opportunity, pushing the ball up the court to a striding Zackery. It appeared as if Zackery was bumped by Devoe on his way up to the rim, but there was no whistle, and the point guard’s layup rolled out.
“Maybe it was a foul, maybe it wasn’t,” Grant said. “But we didn’t get the call.”
Devoe collected his own miss twice on the other end before kicking the ball out to Maxwell, who buried his seventh 3-pointer and, in turn, the Eagles.
Post got one more layup to go with an under a minute left, however, it was answered by Smith again. A Zackery turnover and an errant Makai Ashton-Langford miss on the Eagles’ next two possessions spelled doom for Grant’s squad, which still hasn’t won since Dec. 3.
BC has played two winless ACC teams in the last week, had a chance to beat both and came up empty each time.
“We’re trying to get to a certain place,” Grant said. “But right now we have to deal with the fact that where we are ain’t where we really want to be. We’ve got to fight through it.”
“Our character is going to be revealed in the next 45 days.”