The Boston College Eagles men’s basketball team (12-19) advanced to the second round of the ACC tournament with their 66-46 win over Pittsburgh Tuesday afternoon as they’ll take on No. 5 Wake Forest Wednesday. Earl Grant among others spoke about the BC basketball victory.
“The guys just did a great job of moving the ball and being patient — and trying to get into the paint,” said Grant. “I think just having the four guards out there with so much ball handling, that’s probably the biggest reason we were able to manage the game the way we did.”
BC picked up its first conference tournament win since 2018, as they handled the Panthers fairly easily in a physical contest.
“We played physical,” Grant said. “We like to defend and rebound and take care of the ball so guys adjusted to (the physicality of Pittsburgh) well. I thought they hurt us on the offensive glass early, but we made the adjustments, did what we needed to do — played really physical after the first 10 minutes.
“I think our guys did a great job,” added Grant. “We rebounded the ball well — that’s one of our standards — we wanna defensive rebound. I think we hit our number tonight.”
It was a rather balanced scoreline for the Eagles, as big man James Karnik led the team with 13 points, while fellow big man Quinten Post had 11. The two were both able to contain John Hugley, Pitt’s star forward, who tortured the Eagles the first time the two sides met this season with 30 points.
Once Hugley was contained, Pitt not having a true point guard on their squad became a more and more glaring issue as the game went on. DeMarr Langford Jr. spoke about BC’s plan to contain Hugley.
“We knew he was the motor of their team,” said Langford Jr., the brother of senior Makai Ashton-Langford. “We knew that the bigs (were) gonna need help with him from the first game. Our game plan was just kinda double him in the post and make somebody else make a play.”
Post, who is from the Netherlands, talked about getting the opportunity to play in the Barclays Center, saying a chance like this is a dream come true.
“For me, I’m from Europe — from the Netherlands, said Post. “And, over there, basketball isn’t as big as it is over here, so to come here and to play D1 basketball at the highest level and play in these kinds of arenas, that’s like a dream come true. It’s just a great experience.”
As mentioned, BC’s stat line was very balanced, and Grant spoke on the big team effort Tuesday.
“We had good balance,” said Grant. “A lot of guys scored. I think we had five guys score nine or more points, we were very unselfish, and we were patient. We had good offensive maturity which is something we’ve talked about all year long. We wanna be playing our best basketball in March.”
If BC ends up beating Wake Forest, they’ll play Thursday yet again in the 2 p.m. slot.
In his first year as head coach of the Eagles, Grant led the Eagles to an 11-19 regular season record that included six ACC wins, more than most projected them to have. The former coach of Charleston credits a strong foundation from the two Langford brothers, as well as Karnik — as BC has seven new players this season after a complete roster overhaul.
“DeMarr and Makai, to have brothers and to have that type of relationship and that type of care for each other, and then also be so talented, I think that was the biggest part of it, and then James,” said Grant, when asked about the brotherhood of his team. “I have three guys that are really good players and guys who have been through a lot of adversity.
“Any time you can inherit three or four players that have been through a lot of adversity, they got a lot of inner strength in them, and they connect it, so they really did a good job giving us a foundation.
“But then being able to get Quinten from Mississippi State with his size and skill level, being able to bring in Brevin Galloway — somebody who had been with me for five years, certainly that helped as well, but I think just being able to inherit a few guys that really actually fit my system and how we like to play initially, had a lot with us finding a way to make some progress.”