BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Before the start of the 2021–22 season, some projected Boston College men’s basketball to win, at most, two ACC games. The Eagles have now matched that total in the ACC Tournament.
No. 13-seed BC (13–19, 8–14 Atlantic Coast) overcame a 10-point second-half deficit against No. 5-seed Wake Forest (23–9, 13–7) to secure an 82–77 overtime win and advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
“We want to play our best basketball in March,” BC head coach Earl Grant said after the game. “We want to keep getting better. … We’ll regroup and continue the game plan and just be thankful that we get a chance to continue to play.”
The Eagles started the game with their two-center lineup of Quinten Post and James Karnik for the seventh straight game. The big men combined for 25 points, dominating in the paint and feasting on the Deacons’ game-long foul troubles.
“It wasn’t always just straight post-ups,” said Grant. “It was our guards making decisions in the pick and roll and finding [Post and Karnik] at the rim, and they just had to deliver.”
The turning point came with the game tied 70–70 when Makai Ashton-Langford took a charge on ACC player of the year Alondes Williams. The charge by Ashton-Langford, who finished the night with 13 points, prevented the Deacons from getting a shot off and gave the Eagles the ball back with five seconds left in regulation.
“It was the play of the game,” DeMarr Langford Jr. said.
Brevin Galloway missed the game-winning layup, forcing the game to go to overtime—the Eagles’ third of the season. After losing seven out of their last eight overtime games, the extra five minutes proved to be just the right amount of time for the Eagles to grab the victory.
The momentum was on the Eagles’ side during the entire extra period, as they rattled off six straight points during the first three minutes to take a 76–70 lead. BC held the Deacons to just 2-of-10 shooting in the extra period.
The first half saw Jaeden Zackery and Karnik stuck on the bench due to two personal fouls each. The Eagles had to rely on Post and Langford Jr., who finished with 17 and 19 points respectively.
The foul trouble caused BC to go scoreless for five minutes in the second half and put the Eagles down by 10 points. But in a game of runs, the Eagles put together a stretch in which they outscored Wake Forest 14–1. A Galloway 3-pointer capped it off to give BC a 69–66 advantage with 2:35 left in regulation.
“We ain’t got nothing to lose,” Langford Jr. said. “If we lose, we go home. If we win, we advance. And that’s what coach [Grant] preaches in the locker room. We got up and went out there and got it done tonight.”
This will be the Eagles’ first ACC tournament quarterfinal appearance since the 2017–18 season.
And after upsetting Wake Forest Wednesday afternoon, Earl Grant said he isn’t counting his team out.
“That’s one thing about this team: When we fall down, we get back up,” said Grant. “It’s hard to win. … We’re trying to learn how to be a great team. That’s a pursuit for us. So we made a good step today.”
Featured Image by Nicole Wei / Heights Staff