Boston College collapsed in the second half tonight, losing 77-58.
The Panthers controlled the early tip, but their first offensive possession only resulted in an airballed jump hook shot. Boston College, meanwhile, began with some familiar offensive struggles. Makai Ashton-Langford missed a deep three early in the shot clock, while McGlockton tossed a lazy entry pass to no one that bounced harmlessly out of bounds. It took almost two minutes for BC to get on the board, and it came via a Quinten Post triple (to no one’s surprise).
Pitt also started off cold offensively, stumbling to a 1-6 start from the field before a G Greg Elliot trey gave them an early 5-3 lead. BC went to Quinten Post early and often, looking to exploit his size advantage down low, but Pitt was quick to blitz him with doubles. He started off cold (for his lofty standards) shooting 1-4.
Post’s cold start was nothing compared to Pitt’s, however. After that 1-6 start, they went 2-5 while missing a couple of good perimeter looks. BC was also able to force a flurry of quick turnovers (5 within the first 9 minutes), leading to some easy transition layups for the likes of Jaeden Zackery and CJ Penha, BC took an early 16-10 lead with 11:31 to play in the first half on the back of an 11-0 run.
Pitt tightened up their half court offense, however, which both led to better looks for them as well as limiting BC’s transition offense. After a Nike Sibande layup (after a Prince Aligbe goaltend), Pitt had cooled off BC’s early momentum to jump right back into the game with a mini 5-0 run. Fortunately for BC, Jaeden Zackery found an opening along the perimeter for the open triple before Makai connected from several feet beyond the arc to put BC right back up 7.
Pitt remained right in the contest, however, as a Nelly Cummings silky midrange floater and an open Blake Hinton triple pulled them right within 2 again. After a cold start for their offense, the seasoned transfer veterans began to settle in and make plays. Hinson forced a switch from McGlockton to Zackery, and hunted the mismatch for the easy deuce to tie the game at 24. BC’s offense began to stall, going scoreless for over 2 minutes as Post missed another layup down low. He did, however, hit a midrange jumper to tie the game at 26, but another Elliot triple gabe Pitt a 29-26 lead with 4:47 to play.
To Earl Grant’s definite chagrin, Quinten Post then found himself getting teched up after grabbing a Pitt player’s leg. He went to the bench. CJ Penha entered the game for him, and got lost behind a forest of screens to give Blake Hinson a knockdown corner 3. Behind a 15-2 run, Pitt had taken a 32-26 lead with 3:39 to play in the half. Mason Madsen hit another triple to halve the deficit, but Pitt F Federiko Federiki dunked all over Devin McGlockton. With Post (2 fouls) and Makai (3) both forced to miss big minutes, BC was missing two key contributors offensively and it showed in the waning minutes of the second half with very little shot creation for BC leading to good looks.
Blake Hinson, meanwhile, overcame a slow start to drill four first half treys, the last of which gave Pitt a 40-31 lead into halftime. Despite their cold start, down the stretch in the first half Pitt’s shooters just began to light it up. Without Makai’s off-the-dribble shot creation or Post’s reliability down low, BC’s offense was severely limited.
Earl Grant elected to put his starters on the court to start the second half – trusting Makai with his 3 fouls and Post with his 2 – and both repaid the faith early. Post picked up two quick blocks, while Makai got a layup and putback effort for 4 quick points. Pitt continued to answer, with a triple from Nelly Cummings, keeping BC at arm’s length despite some improved offensive play from the Eagles. Just as in the first half, however, Quinten Post got subbed out of the game and BC’s offense cratered. Several careless turnovers and forced shots proved fruitless, while Hinson hit his 5th three to push Pitt’s lead to 11. Pitt’s offense continued to click, as Nelly Cummings and Co. just dissected the Eagles defense for good looks at all three levels. The game really began to get out of hand when Hinson connected yet again from beyond the arc despite being fouled, putting Pitt up 57-41 with 11 minutes to play. BC missed 13 straight field goals, essentially gave up defensively, and went on to lose 77-58.