Sports, Basketball, Men's Basketball

Eagles hold off Virginia Tech in Karnik’s 26-point outing

With just over four minutes left in the first half of Boston College men’s basketball’s Saturday afternoon matchup against Virginia Tech, BC was down by seven and hadn’t led all game. But as James Karnik recorded his first field goal of the game with just under three and a half minutes to go in the half, the tide began to turn for the Eagles. 

Karnik went on to score a career-high 26 points on the night, and with the help of Makai Ashton-Langford, led the Eagles (8–9, 7–3 Atlantic Coast) through a second-half surge en route to a 68–63 victory over Virginia Tech (10–8, 2–5). 

After starting out 1-of-7 from the field and recording only one field goal in the game’s first six minutes, the Eagles lit up in the first half’s final minutes, with Karnik scoring six of BC’s final 11 first-half points. The late run closed the gap and put the Eagles down by just two points heading into the second half. 

But BC’s run didn’t stop there. 

Karnik opened the second half with a layup to tie the game for the Eagles and followed it up with a dunk less than a minute later to give BC its first lead of the day. He went on to score 12 of the Eagles’ next 14 points, including one 3-pointer. 

In his 26-point outing, Karnik also eclipsed 1,000 career points. After the game, he said that along with getting an NCAA Division I offer coming out of Canada, playing in the ACC, and starting throughout his whole career, hitting 1,000 points was one of the biggest goals for his college career. 

“The last one for me was the big 1,000,” Karnik said. “I actually kind of completely forgot. I had it in the back of my mind, and then when I started playing, I completely forgot. … It just feels great.”

Two minutes after Karnik’s three, Ashton-Langford hit one of his own and followed up with a jumper in the paint to put BC up by five—its largest lead of the day. Ashton-Langford finished the game with 18 points. His half brother DeMarr Langford Jr. finished with eight points and four assists. 

With four and a half minutes to play, Virginia Tech tied the game back up at 61. A free throw by T.J. Bickerstaff and two jumpers by Jaeden Zackery helped BC hold onto its lead, and the Eagles led 66–63 with 33 seconds left to play.

After Virginia Tech’s Storm Murphy missed a 3-pointer, Bickerstaff sank another two free throws to increase BC’s lead to five and ice the game for the Eagles. 

In their third ACC win of the season, the Eagles shot 48.1 percent from the field, a stark contrast to their 29.2 percent shooting performance against Louisville Wednesday. Karnik finished the game 10-of-12 from the field. 

“I told myself, ‘Don’t stress,’” Karnik said. “Sometimes I really just try to force it. I’m like ‘You’re going to have a great game,’ and honestly when I tell myself that, it doesn’t turn out for me like that. I just [let] the game kind of come to me.”

Featured Image by Nicole Vagra / Heights Editor

January 23, 2022
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