Sports, Basketball, Men's Basketball

Eagles Start ACC Play Hot With Win Over Notre Dame

With free nachos offered for showing up early, and an additional free taco from King Tacos when the Boston College men’s basketball topped 70 points, Conte Forum filled up fast and remained loud for the full 40 minutes. Ignoring the tacos, however, it is apparent that fans are excited for a new era of BC men’s basketball under head coach Earl Grant.

The Eagles opened up ACC play with a 73–57 win over Notre Dame (3–4, 0–1 Atlantic Coast) in the Holy War, the largest margin of victory over the Fighting Irish in BC history. 

Following the win, BC improves to 6–3, and 1–0 in the ACC and remains undefeated (6–0) inside Conte Forum this season.

“Just having our fans behind our back kind of uplifts things,” senior James Karnik said. “They allow us to really have fun out there.”

Karnik opened up the scoring with a 3-pointer from the top of the key, bringing the fans to their feet just 17 seconds into the game. From there, BC extended its lead to 7–0 and never looked back. The Eagles led 37–27 at the half. 

BC didn’t let up at any point in the contest, coming out of the halftime break with a 15–2 run to extend its lead to 23 points five minutes into the second half. 

BC set the tone by out-rebounding the Irish, with Karnik finishing the half with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Heightwise, there didn’t seem to be much of an advantage. And Notre Dame’s two bigs in Nate Laszewski and Paul Atkinson Jr. had been rebounding the ball quite well on the season, according to head coach Mike Brey. 

“Tonight, however, it looked like varsity versus JV on the glass, and we got what we deserved,” Brey said in his postgame press conference. 

Quinten Post, T.J. Bickerstaff, and Karnik were the first three scorers in double figures in the contest. The trio combined for 44 of the Eagles’ 73 points and 25 of BC’s 38 rebounds. Bickerstaff shot 5-for-9 from the field and 2-for-2 from three for 14 points to go along with his six rebounds. Post added 13 points and six rebounds, and Karnik finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds on 8-of-11 shooting from the field.  

Despite the dominant performance from BC’s three big men, the most interesting statline of the night came from the Langford duo. DeMarr Langford Jr. and Makai Ashton-Langford each  finished with the exact same line of 10 points, four assists, four rebounds, two steals, and one turnover. 

For Notre Dame, senior guard Prentiss Hubb came off the bench but finished with a team-high 15 points on 3-of-4 shooting from three. Last time the two teams met, Hubb went for 28 in the loss to the Eagles on BC’s Senior Day

Other than Hubb, the team struggled to get going from three. As a team, the Irish shot 8-of-28 from three and 21-of-55 from the field. BC got most of its looks inside, attempting just 13 3-pointers and making six of them. 

Following the win, BC will have its longest rest since the season began on Nov. 9, as it doesn’t play again until Dec. 11 at St. Louis (7–1). Grant said he is looking forward to a full week of practice as the team continues “climbing out of the valley,” and improving each day. 

“I don’t really like to put the carriage in front of the horse,” said Grant. “We’ll take this win and try to build on it, but we know we need to keep scratching and clawing. We have a lot of work to do.”

Featured Image by Aditya Rao / Heights Staff

December 4, 2021