Sports, Basketball, Men's Basketball

Eagles Open New Year With Blowout Loss to Louisville

Boston College men’s basketball rang in the new year against Louisville in Conte Forum on Saturday, but seemingly without a “new year, new me” attitude. The Eagles continued their months-long drought without an ACC win into the new year with a 76-64 loss to Louisville.

BC started off strong, leading the Cardinals 10-3 with 16:42 to go in the first half. The tables quickly turned with 10:12 left to go in the first half when a 3-pointer from Louisville’s David Johnson squandered BC’s lead, and the Eagles never regained it. After all was said and done, the result was familiar, as the Eagles (2-7, 0-3) fell to the Cardinals (7-1, 2-0) by double digits.

“It was one of those days … we were getting great plays, making the extra pass, and the ball was just not going in,” BC head coach Jim Christian said in his postgame press conference. “It’s disheartening that the effort didn’t get rewarded, but I’m encouraged with the effort.”

Despite guard Makai Ashton-Langford injuring his knee on a layup attempt with 14:41 to go in the first half and having team members Frederick Scott and Luka Kraljevic injured, Christian said he was proud of how the team adjusted. Ashton-Langford returned with a sleeve on his leg with about 6:30 to go in the first half, but by then, the game was nearly out of reach. BC trailed Louisville by 13 points at the half.

Louisville relentlessly continued to score and increase its margin of victory after halftime, and the Cardinals’ lead soon reached 17 points. The Eagles tried to fight back and close the gap, but the closest they clawed was within seven points with 9:15 to go in the game.

In a last-ditch effort, Ashton-Langford notched eight points in the last three minutes of the game while Jay Heath had three and Wynston Tabbs had five in that span, working to close the 15-point gap the Cardinals had built, but to no avail. Ashton-Langford and Louisville’s Jae’Lyn Withers and Samuell Williamson all eventually fouled out of the game. 

Even with Heath’s career-high of 20 points on the night, Tabbs’ 15 points, Ashton-Langford’s 13 points, and BC’s 22-of-28 free-throw shooting, the Eagles had a tough time getting the ball in the net, according to Christian.

“It’s the unfortunate game of basketball,” Christian said. “Like if you’re taking awful shots and shots don’t go in, you can comment on them, but these were one-more-extra-pass plays. These were, you know, seeing the open man, just missing shots. You know, it’s basketball.” 

Louisville’s Johnson led the Cardinals with 20 points while Carlik Jones led the team in rebounds, contributing nine of the Cardinals’ 42 boards. 

BC scored 34 percent of its field goals, with Heath and Tabbs both shooting 50 percent, and 25 percent from the 3-point line, both notable decreases from BC’s last game against NC State. 

Regardless of an unfavorable start to the new year, Christian said he is hoping to bounce back on Wednesday night against Duke. 

“Our goals—whether it was last year, 2020, or 2021—haven’t changed,” Christian said. “Improve, get better, give ourselves an opportunity to be competitive every night in this league, and put ourselves in the best position we can as the conference tournament rolls around.”

Featured Image by Michael Dwyer / AP Photo

January 2, 2021