The March winless streak is over.
The Boston College men’s basketball team hadn’t won a game in March since 2018, when the Jerome Robinson/Ky Bowman Eagles won a pair of games to advance to the ACC quarterfinal.
Since that time, BC had lost every game they played in in the month of March - not just in the ACC tournament, but even in the regular season.
That ended this afternoon, as the #13-seed Eagles demolished #12-seed Pitt 66-46 in the first round of the ACC tournament at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
The victory extends the Eagles’ season, and puts a feather in the cap of head coach Earl Grant, whose year one accomplishments, while modest, have beaten what most people would have expected from this year’s team.
BC now moves on to face #5 seed Wake Forest tomorrow in the second round (2:30 PM, ESPN).
It was a balanced offensive effort by the Eagles, with James Karnik leading the way with 13 points, including 11 in the first half as BC stormed to a 33-22 halftime lead.
Quinten Post chipped in a pair of three pointers during BC’s run early in the second half that salted the game away, and finished with 11 points.
DeMarr Langford also finished in double digits with 12 points, while Makai Ashton-Langford had 9.
Overall, BC shot 53% from the field, including a better than usual output of 7-for-15 from three point range.
Pitt and BC swapped baskets early in the first half, with the lead changing hands six times. But the turning point came with Pitt leading 22-21 with 4:51 left in the first half, when their big man John Hugley was forced out of the game through foul trouble. Hugley had been working the Eagles in the paint, but his departure changed the story pretty quickly.
BC went on a 12-0 run to end the half, including a dunk by James Karnik in the final minute to put an exclamation point on the run that gave the Eagles a 33-22 lead.
Things spiraled further out of control for Pitt early in the second, when Pitt’s Femi Odukale committed both a technical foul and a flagrant foul after unnecessarily pulling down Quinten Post. BC made 3-of-4 free throws gifted to them off that opportunity to extend the lead, and it seemed to be a sign of a Pitt team that was continuing to come unglued.
Post went on a personal 8-0 run to extend BC’s lead to 21 with 14:07 to play, when a three pointer made it 46-25.
Pitt was able to exchange baskets a bit with BC after that but was never able to make a run or make it much closer, with the Eagles lead never shrinking to less than 18 from that point forward.
By the end of the game BC was able to empty the bench and start thinking about tomorrow - a good feeling at a time of the year when tomorrow is not guaranteed.
Tomorrow’s game at 2:30 will come against a Wake team that posted an impressive 23-8 record on the year (13-7 ACC), and pounded the Eagles 87-57 back on January 24. So BC will need to step up big time if they hope to extend past tomorrow.
But for now, that’s tomorrow’s problem; for today, the Eagles can enjoy getting back in to the win column in tournament play.