After an absolute blowout loss came at the hands of the UNC Tarheels on Sunday, the Eagles headed to Pittsburgh for their first ACC road contest of the season to take on a struggling Panthers team. The Eagles entering the matchup were on a three game skid with their last win coming against Notre Dame back in early December.
It was the Langford brothers show early on as the two were the entirety of the Eagle’s offensive production in the early minutes combining for 17 of the team’s first 24 points. Pitt seemingly was lost in trying to find who it was that was going to breakout and keep the Panthers afloat. That was the case, until John Hugley answered the beacon call.
Both James Karnik and Quinten Post could not seem to contain the big man as he was the catalyst behind Pitt’s offense as he was able to finish the half with 19 of Pitt’s 32 first half points. More importantly he was able to force 3 fouls on both Karnik and Post putting them into early foul trouble and allow JVB to get some minutes.
Overall, aside from trying to stop Hugely, the Eagles had a pretty convincingly solid first half. The team finished shooting 46.4% from the field and 54.5% from the perimeter. They were also effective at holding on to the ball committing just 6 turnovers. It was obvious that the game-plan going into the second was to halt Hugely’s success and start to push tempo and score in transition.
The second half saw a newly re-vamped Pitt offense as they were able to spread the ball effectively and get scorers on the stat sheet whose last name is Hugely. Some big threes from Mouhamdou Gueye and an emphatic poster dunk from Feme Odukale propelled Pitt into the lead at the U12 mark with BC looking for some defensive answers. Not to mention BC’s offense stalled out early in the second with the only production coming from some acrobatic layups from Makai and a few Galloway threes.
After Earl Grant was charged with a technical, things started to slip for the Eagles. Pitt stretched their lead to their largest of the game and James Karnik fouled out immediately after checking into the game after some significant time on the bench. He only played 14 minutes and finished with just 2 points.
Pitt was able to continue to lean on their big man Hugely for the second half and extend their lead to as much as 8 before BC started to buckle down and start picking their intensity backup. It was tough fight with both teams exchanging buckets throughout the half all the way down to the closing minutes. Makai was able to keep BC alive with some big threes and finished with a career high 23 points.
Momentum kept swinging to each team like a pendulum but when all was said and done the needle eventually stuck with Pitt. Jamarius Burton and John Hugely were able to drill their free-throws to cling on to the lead in the closing seconds giving BC one last play as time expired to either send the game to overtime or ice the game with a three. Makai, who was on fire all night, was given the task of driving to the cup in the final seconds and was able to get a clean look but simply could not finish handing Pitt their first ACC win of the season.
In summary, this by no means was a terrible performance from the Eagles as they showed ferocity even with their backs against the wall. Foul trouble was a huge issue, however, as Karnik, Post and Zackery all ended up fouling out for the Eagles by the game’s end. Huge credit to JVB though who really answered when his number was called and was able to keep Hugely modestly at bay in the second. Hopefully this performance is enough to earn him some more minutes going forward.
In terms of Galloway, I will say the same thing I said on Twitter. I love the kid’s charisma and upbeat attitude and he can clearly drill them from deep. However, I really want to see him swing the ball a little more to make his game less predictable. When he was dishing it out, big things were happening.
The Eagles head back home to Conte to take on Georgia Tech on Wednesday with tipoff set for 9 PM.