Sports, Winter, Basketball, Men's Basketball

Karnik, Eagles’ Offense Shine in Win Over South Florida

James Karnik stampeded down the court, making eye contact with teammate Makai Ashton-Langford. Ashton-Langford flung a pass in Karnik’s direction, which Karnik received and slammed into the net. 

In the final five minutes of Boston College men’s basketball’s game against South Florida, Karnik recorded six points, one offensive foul, and multiple rebounds to lift the Eagles (5–3) to a 64–49 win over South Florida (3–3). 

“I mean it’s progress,” BC head coach Earl Grant said in his postgame press conference. “I’m just trying to make progress with this group. We are very aware that we have a lot of climbing to do and a lot of work to do to get the program in the right direction moving forward. So every night is a war.”

The Eagles looked to close out non-conference competition with a win on Monday night, heading into ACC play with two straight wins. Karnik, with 12 points, had a lot to do with the Eagles’ win on Monday.

“I thought [Karnik] was very mature with the late-game execution and growing with the progress from what I’ve seen the last couple of weeks,” Grant said. 

Both teams came out shooting strong, as the first four minutes consisted of back-and-forth play. The Eagles’ offense was strengthened by the efforts of the Langford duo, as both Ashton-Langford and DeMarr Langford Jr. drove to the net for hard-earned points. A bounce pass by Langford Jr. to Quinten Post gave the Eagles the early momentum they needed, as Post slammed it down for a dunk. 

The Eagles utilized their big men in the first half, practicing give-and-gos with both Post and Karnik. Despite BC’s aggressive defense, South Florida hung with the Eagles for the first half, shooting 75 percent from the floor. 

When the Eagles faced a scoring drought, Post provided some must-needed points for BC, surpassing his season average of 7.7 points in the first half alone, going 3-for-3 from the field and recording nine points in the first 20 minutes. 

“Yeah, when we go through stretches offensively where we don’t score, one thing that coach preaches in practice is if we don’t score, they don’t score, so I think we really take pride in that and, you know, kind of defend in his word,” Langford Jr. said. 

After Ashton-Langford got into some foul trouble early on in the first, the Eagles relied on freshman Kanye Jones for support. After the first 20 minutes, the Eagles led South Florida 30–24 despite multiple BC scoring droughts. 

“I think in the first half we kind of didn’t limit them enough to one shot, but during the second half we came back to the locker room, and Coach said that’s exactly what we need to do to win the game,” Ashton-Langford said. “So we did that, and it worked out for us.”

The beginning of the second half was dominated by the play of Langford Jr., who rallied the Eagles’ defense and scored the first three points of the second half. 

Despite struggling from the field, T.J. Bickerstaff was a strong defensive force for the Eagles. 

Halfway through the second, Ashton-Langford sent a perfectly placed alley-oop into the hands of Post, who fired it into the net and brought the score to 44–35 in BC’s favor. 

As South Florida cut BC’s lead to only six points in the final nine minutes of the game, the Langford duo took matters into their own hands. Ashton-Langford came stampeding down the court on a fast break, but two South Florida defenders guarded his route. At the last second, he flung a pass to his brother, Langford Jr., who quickly lifted it into the net. 

South Florida continued to pick at BC’s lead, and Grant called Brevin Galloway from the bench. After missing five games to an injury in the season opener, Galloway returned in the Eagles’ last game against Columbia and recorded nine points from beyond the arc. Galloway secured two threes for the Eagles on Monday in his 17 minutes of play, most notably a 3-pointer toward the end of the game that put the Eagles up by seven. 

“Brev’s corner three to get it to seven was crucial,” Grant said of Galloway. “T.J.’s dunk, I think it was a dunk or a layup, got it back to nine. We changed to a matchup defense instead of a man and then we switched up defenses, burned some time off the clock, and just made the plays we needed to.”

Featured Image by Chris Ticas / Heights Staff

November 30, 2021