Throughout the season, both Boston College men’s basketball and Miami have each encountered setback after setback, and the two finished in the ACC’s cellar. Miami had nine players miss a combined total of 98 games due to injuries, and BC faced a handful of COVID-19-related pauses and a head coaching change. The two teams with the lowest records in the ACC battled on Friday night, knowing that the losing team would finish last in the conference.
It has been a long, difficult, and disappointing season for the Eagles, but on Friday they left everything on the court in hopes of finishing the season on a good note. Unfortunately for BC (4-15, 2-11 ACC), Miami (8-16, 4-15) answered with a similar determination and fire of its own, edging out the Eagles 80-76.
“We’re really really proud of our guys—they’re playing hard and they’re playing to win,” interim head coach Scott Spinelli said in his postgame press conference. “Really proud of the guys and their effort tonight. It was really heartwarming to see every guy that stepped on that court give it their all.”
BC looked to rebound from a blowout loss to Florida State on Wednesday, and the Eagles nearly did just that. They played with their heads up and put up many strong points by attacking the paint and locking down on defense.
Senior James Karnik led the Eagles with 15 points and five rebounds, followed by Makai Ashton-Langford who put up 13 points and four rebounds, one of his best games this season. The Eagles collectively finished with a 41.9 percent field goal percentage and a 34.6 percent 3-point percentage.
Miami put up similar numbers, shooting 42.9 from the field and 29.2 percent from 3-point range. There was no more than a two-point difference between the two teams in total rebounds, blocks, and assists—indicative of the narrow final score.
BC had trouble dealing with two of Miami’s players in particular: Kameron McGusty and Nysier Brooks. The two dominated the game with a combined 48 points and 10 rebounds for the Hurricanes. McGusty finished with a season-high 27 points while Brooks ended his season on a career-high 21 points.
In the second half, just when it seemed that Miami would be running away with the game after gaining a nine-point lead at 66-58, BC answered back with three 3-pointers in a row and a foul shot by Karnik to take the lead for the first time in the game. After a continuous back-and-forth struggle, BC seemed to lose its grip in the final five minutes of the game, allowing Miami to slip away for a four-point win.
BC now stands at No. 15 in the ACC. The Eagles will next travel to Greensboro, N.C. in hopes of defying their standing in the ACC Tournament.
“The most important game usually in these conference tournaments is the first game because … you want to be ready for them, and you wanna don’t wanna be looking ahead to anything else,” Spinelli said.
Featured Image by Wilfredo Lee / AP Photo